No Good Deed Goes Unpunished

Sort of a follow on to The Road to Hell is Paved with Good Intentions. (and, apparently, I'm still trying to teach people to think) If, in fact, your actions amount to more than (feel) good intent, there's bound to be some whiner out there who isn't happy about it. Rest assured, they'll do everything they can to make sure that you never try that again.

So, today I get a private message from the Austin_Browncoats moderator about my negative wit, as currently displayed on her list, and a reference to a total buffoon that picked a fight with me a year ago on the list because I dared to suggest that Firefly was dead.

It is dead. The show was cancelled. It might be revived, but it won't be the same show. Star Trek never came back from it's cancellation. Oh, they made movies, and they made spin off series, but the Original Series (TOS, for the Trekkers out there) remains as the same 79 episodes. It effectively died when NBC pulled the plug in 1969. For the fans it 'lives on', but considering what they've done to the Star Trek universe of late, it looks more undead than alive. Perhaps 14 episodes and a movie, coda (fade out) would be a kinder fate for Firefly than the fate that befell Star Trek.

Back to the buffoon. She ranted and raved for a few days, then packed up and left the list in a huff because "she had better things to do elsewhere". Fine by me. Hadn't heard anything of significance from her before the meltdown, didn't see that it was much of a loss. I made my apologies to the list, and went on.

Only to have it thrown back in my face today. Well, that's just fine and dandy. Yes, I tend to speak my mind, and I don't generally give much thought to the impact this might have. I try to be concise and to the point, colorful yet clear, but I don't really care if it ruffles feathers. It's the way I talk (when I say anything at all) and it's the way I write. Honesty is the best policy, and I follow that policy to the letter.

Like the latest dust up. Someone who probably should know better forwards that old Cough CPR post to the list. Now, most lists (including mine) have notices about forwarding this type of junk to the list. It generally amounts to "don't". Being aware that this is a bogus bit of netlore that could be potentially fatal, I immediately zipped off a rebuttal. Very shortly afterward, I get a response from the original author defending her post as being sent with "the best of intentions" along with some companion sympathy shoulder rubbing posts from another member.

So here's another tempest in a teapot starting to boil. And who's fault is it? Mine!

Yepper. How dare I speak in such a condescending fashion. Well, excuse me for trying to keep people from killing themselves with CPR tips that won't work as advertised, and hurting someone else's feelings in the process. I should remember the good intentions the post was sent with and not worry about those people who might actually kill themselves with the advice contained in the post.

However, the tempest never gets to a full boil. Why? Not because the moderator put a lid on it, deleting posts on the subject (Attn: Ms. moderator. Firefly fans should have more balls than to go whining to the authorities when the other kids in the sandbox don't play nice. It just seems a bit counter to the whole "livin' on the raggedy edge" kind of mindset) no, it never came to a boil because I resisted saying the wrong thing at the tempting moment.

The last post in the thread shows up, tearing at the hair and bewailing my lack of common decency for daring to take this poor woman to task for something she posted with the best of intentions...

...and I let it slide.

So, in the For What It's Worth department I have this response:

No. Good intentions are not required as a prerequisite for doing good. Knowing the difference between the good and the bad is. Good intentions that yield bad results might as well be bad intentions. Common decency compelled me to set the record straight in the first place. Otherwise I'd have been more than happy to let the boat float along undisturbed, just like the rest of the sheep who can watch someone being mugged in an alleyway and do nothing about it.

You can feel good about the fact that my good deed has not gone unpunished.

3 comments:

  1. The big, bad post that started it all. One might suppose that the post I'm replying to here started it, but one would be mistaken:

    From: R. Anthony Steele To: austin_browncoats@yahoogroups.com
    Date: Aug 17, 2006 12:25 AM
    Subject: Re: [austin_browncoats] PLEASE READ!!!!

    Aside from being completely OT (Off Topic) for this list, this post is a complete waste of time. Allow me to demonstrate.
    > EVERYONE MUST KNOW THIS
    The first clue to the quality of the content in the message. Any post that contains this sentence can be safely roundfiled. As can any post that claims to be looking for lost children, any post that promises a reward if you forward it, and any post from a barrister representing a wealthy potential relative who is recently deceased. It is guaranteed to be garbage.

    When one runs the key phrase in a debunk search (http://rollyo.com/ranthony/debunk/): "SURVIVE A HEART ATTACK WHEN ALONE"

    One finds that this urban legend has been thoroughly debunked (13 entries) at two out of three sites that I rely on for this type of information. I'm sure the third one will get to it soon.

    I recommend checking every post before forwarding it. Better yet, just roundfile it. Most of us will thank you.

    -RAnthony
    ---
    RAnt( hony)-ings

    "Remember not only to say the right thing in the right place,
    but far more difficult still, to leave unsaid the wrong thing at the tempting moment."
    --Benjamin Franklin

    ReplyDelete
  2. Then, to add insult to injury, I dared to follow up my criticism:

    From: R. Anthony Steele
    To:austin_browncoats@yahoogroups.com
    Date: Aug 18, 2006 7:17 PM
    Subject: Re: [austin_browncoats] Good Intentions, Hellish Results

    sarahbethtexas wrote:
    >> I'll take responsibility for not checking the facts, but it was
    >> posted with the best of intentions.

    Logan Gratehouse wrote:
    > I understood the intention and I appreciated it. This board is for
    > friends and friendlies, I hope everyone posts with that in mind.

    "the road to hell is paved with good intentions"

    I also understood the intent, but wanting to do good and actually doing good are two entirely different things. Forwarding erroneous information with the best of intentions just adds to the spam that most of us already have to deal with; and could potentially *cause* injury when someone attempts to remedy their situation based on the erroneous information.

    Trust me when I say, I posted my response with "the best of intentions". If my post makes someone think before hitting 'forward' the next time some chain letter hits their inbox, then I have actually done some good, rather than just intended it.

    -RAnthony
    http://ranthonysteele.blogspot.com/2006/08/spamming-with-good-intentions.html

    ReplyDelete
  3. ...and then moron boy (that would be me) violates his own cardinal rule and sends a reply (and not a nice one) to a message from a list member without checking who the "to:" is.

    Yepper, insulting the moderator on her own list. That'll always win you points. I'm contemplating just removing myself so as to save her the trouble.

    Well, I think I've done enough damage for one day...

    ReplyDelete

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