Duncan Riley: Lessons in diplomacy

by Mathew on March 15, 2008 · 54 comments

I was going to title this post “Duncan Riley: Lessons in how to be an asshole,” but then I thought that would bring me down to the same level as Duncan, and I really don’t want to do that. I suppose it wouldn’t be a weekend without a Techmeme bitchfest (or what Frederic of The Last Podcast calls a “bitchmeme”), but the one Duncan started is really over the top. Despite the fact that I’m all relaxed from being in Florida for the past two weeks, I feel compelled to comment.

Disagreeing about the value of a Web app is hardly anything new — it happens all the time, and it’s largely a good thing, even if sometimes people get their knickers in a twist over a perceived slight. Differences of opinion can be instructive. But Duncan’s response to Louis Gray’s post about FriendFeed is in a whole different category. If Louis lobbed a hand grenade at Duncan with his post, the TechCrunch writer unleashed what amounts to a fleet of Apache attack helicopters in retaliation.

In fact, Louis lobbed what amounts to a wet squib, by questioning Duncan’s review of FriendFeed with a single phrase: “quasi-analytic.” Duncan then responds by calling Louis a nobody, and calls him a “pious, self-important c*nt.” Not satisfied with that, he goes on to tell his Twitter friends that he “truly held back” because he “only dropped the c word once,” and that Louis is an “uppity, self-important wanker.”

I know that many Aussies pride themselves on their ability to start (and in many cases finish) a scrap with just about anyone, and it could be that using words like c*nt constitute an intellectual argument in Duncan-land — but I think Louis deserves an apology. Either Duncan is so desperate for traffic to his blog that he descended to such depths deliberately, or he’s the kind of person who prefers ad hominem attacks to rational argument. In either case, I think it’s pretty pathetic.

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