The Internet is a great thing, an astonishing tool for the human race, but there are inevitably downsides because while the Web gives a voice to many who deserve that chance, some of these voices do not warrant any exposure. The Internet is filled with frauds and snake-oil salesmen, all pretending to be things that they are not. How can we know what is real and what is not when F1 insider columns are written by people who have never been inside an F1 paddock? How do we know who to trust when anyone can hide behind a pseudonym and a false e-mail address? Very often I find that perfectly normal people have doppelgängers when it comes to the Internet and they behave with astonishing rudeness when their identities are protected. They seem to believe that they are experts because they have watched a race on TV or read someone else’s opinions on the Internet. Often the arrogance is astonishing.
I admit that sometimes my replies may appear to be brusque, but when one considers the number of comments I am dealing with each day, it is inevitable that there is not sufficient time to write a sonnet to each and every commenter. Others feel that it is nasty of me to disagree with their opinions and accuse me of arrogance if I challenge their views. Yesterday, as I was reading through all the comments that had collected, I felt a very profound weariness at the gracelessness and the ingratitude of so many of these people. Normally, I do not let such things affect me, but perhaps it was the lack of sleep of a Grand Prix weekend, perhaps it was the sense of deflation of getting back to the coalface after a great holiday. It may even have been a reaction to the mess that the sport has got itself into and I am sure part of it was because of what happened to Justin Wilson, one of the good guys, but I found myself completely demotivated and just about ready to turn off the blog comments. Comments do not come as some divine right for a blog reader, but rather as a gift and I marvel at how and why some people think that this gives them the right to be so thoroughly offensive.
I write this blog and allow comments because I want to amuse and inform F1 fans. I want to share my passion for the sport with them and to attract more people to join the throng. There are many people in Formula 1 who think I am crazy to try to engage with the fans, when it takes so much time and I get nothing from it. Sometimes I think they are right and ponder switching off the comments and leading a less stressful life. But I keep coming back because I believe that we – as an industry – should engage with the fans, and that one should always lead by example.
However, there are blog rules, although no-one seems to pay much attention to them. So, here they are again, as a reminder. Please abide by them because my patience (which is legendary in F1 circles) is frayed and I am currently trigger-happy when it comes to banning anyone who steps over the line.
Joe Saward’s Grand Prix Blog is not a traditional news source. The aim is to amuse and inform about the complex world of Formula 1 motor racing. Some do not understand what the word “blog” means. It is not a traditional new source, but rather a personal website in which I record my opinions about the world of F1, or anything else I care to include. I am happy to allow people to air their opinions in comments, as long as this is done in a respectful fashion. You must remember that it is not a right. You are, in effect, a guest in my house so being abusive and rude about me or others is not acceptable and such comments will be deleted and the author stopped from making further comments. A good rule of thumb when writing a comment is to question whether you would say such a thing to someone’s face…
I would also appreciate if people do not post links as I am not an advertising service for other websites and I will delete such links in almost all cases.