This afternoon I had my first experience of how nasty and rude some people on twitter (certainly no-one I follow) can be sometimes if they don’t agree with you, even people in positions of responsibility with thousands of followers.
I got a call from my fiancée Lizzie while I was out at lunch today and during the conversation she mentioned that she’d seen the cover for this month’s Doctor Who Magazine when their twitter account had been retweeted by someone she follows and that she was annoyed that she’d been spoiled by it. DWM (@DWMtweets on twitter) use their latest magazine cover as their twitter picture and this latest cover contains on it spoilers for the fourth episode of this current series of Doctor Who.
Granted the only spoiler text on the cover was the title of the said episode but the picture that accompanied it showed significant information about the characters in that episode that you wouldn’t get just from the title of the episode. In fact, the title of the episode would suggest other characters entirely based on information previously given in the series.
Anyway, I have no particular problem with minor spoilers, but I know quite a few people who do so I avoid passing on those spoilers that I know and I follow basic internet-spoiler etiquette which is that spoilers should always come with a warning and have to be clicked through to or highlighted or similar. Likewise I don’t think that magazines should print spoilers on the cover where it can be seen by anyone browsing a newsagent. Spoilers should come with warnings and only inside the magazine. One of the reasons I love SFX magazine is that spoilers for everything are always well marked so I can avoid them when I want to.
This was also not the first time DWM had printed spoilers on the cover. In just the previous issue (#433) they’d printed a very big spoiler on the cover of the magazine regarding the season premier episode so I thought I was pretty justified in tweeting the following
“Doctor Who Magazine (@dwmtweets) do love to print spoilers on their front cover don’t they? Not very responsible.”
Not much happened, as is usual when I tweet, but after about 40 minutes I got my tweet re-tweeted by Tom Spilsbury (@tomspilsbury) the chief editor of DWM:
“IT’S THE TITLE! RT @jacobnorton DWM (@dwmtweets) do love to print spoilers on their front cover don’t they? Not very responsible.”
I tweeted back politely, attempting to explain my point and while I was doing so I started getting my @mentions column filling up with supporters of Mr. Spilsbury telling me I was ‘stupid’ and and an ‘Idiot’ and that they were sorry that he had ‘to put up with this kind of idiocy’ from fans. After attempting to explain my point for a while and recieving this sarcastic and rude response:
“Would you prefer we print a load of blank pages every month? WOULD YOU?!”
I decided to give up. It amazes me how someone who is a professional in a probably quite highly paid job can’t take a little criticism without shouting at me over twitter and rallying all his fans to attack me for it. Just because I have a difference of opinion to him doesn’t mean that I deserve to be belittled. It’s not as if I was engaged in a persistent campaign against DWM or anything. He’s an editor of a national magazine and has to be prepared for people to disagree with him on things occasionally. If he wanted to engage me in dialogue, a reply to me rather than a retweet that showed my comment to all his followers would have been far more appropriate.
About half an hour after the tweet attack had stopped, Mr. Spilsbury actually tweeted an apology at me and gave some decent points in his defence for the magazine cover. If that had been his initial tweet to me, we might have been able to have an intelligent conversation about it, but it was not to be.
Today I was attacked, albeit digitally, by a decent number of people for my opinion because it differed from theirs, that this can go on among adults in the modern day astounds me. I don’t want to attempt to retaliate or anything, that would be sinking to their level. They’re really not worth me getting angry about, but I certainly won’t be buying any copies of Doctor Who Magazine during Spilsbury’s tenure as editor.