This is a response to a request for interview from Kelly Diels of Salon.com:
I’m so pleased you’re considering commenting on the story.
There are two ways we could conduct an interview. 1) By Skype or phone. No video, but I record and transcribe the call to ensure I’m quoting you accurately. 2) By email, back and forth.
I’d prefer the Skype version, but I’m open to either.
I can, if I have to, refer to you by your Twitter handle but you words will have more credibility if you use a name and tell me a little about who you are, what you do. (Your choice, entirely.)
Where I’d like to start…
Can you tell me what you think about the Storify/Ana Mardoll/Elevatorgate debate today?
Can you tell me about your relationship with @elevatorgate?
Can you explain your position about whether @elevatorgate’s use of Storify is stalking or just a bit excessive?
Option 3: This post.
You may refer to me as Paul H in your piece if you wish.
I require that any reference to my input on this matter be cited by linking to this blog post for context.
Just to get this out of the way – I have no personal relationship with ElevatorGATE. I follow him, because I like that he shows me things that are happening around twitter that I might otherwise miss. I like that he’s using Storify and Twitter in a unique way, to share information and express his viewpoints. He’s not just doing what everybody else does – retweeting, replying to people etc. – he’s painting a picture by showing whole conversations between people who are out there. That’s how he tweets. He’s broken away from the norm. Nothing wrong with trying new things.
I think opinions on ElevatorGATE are varied, and I respect that not everybody will agree on what he does. I can see why it gets viewed negatively, just as I can see why people might not like the same food as I do.
Personally, I do not think he can be classed as a “stalker” by any legal definition. What he does is collate conversations which are viewable publicly anyway. He does have his own opinions, as we all do – and often shares conversations because he finds what is being said to be interesting, funny or maybe even absurd. We all do this.
However, he never focuses on just one person, or two, or even 100. He sees public conversations we all see on twitter, and taps a button (TweetBot) that just throws the conversation into a Storify story. Much like I might see a comment on twitter and retweet it to my own followers. It’s as simple as that. If I link to a Youtube video and add the comment “This guy is crazy!”, am I stalking the guy just because I shared it? No. I might keep my eye on the Youtube channel it came from, and keep commenting on the videos, maybe tweet about it, blog about it – is that stalking? No. It’s commenting on materials which people have opted to make public – just as people do on twitter, with their tweets. Twitter is not a private forum (outside of DMs and protected accounts)
Additionally, what he does is no different to when certain people on twitter consistently link to, or quote, Richard Dawkins tweets (for example). These are the SAME people who argue that EG is a stalker. So, are they “stalking” Richard Dawkins when they constantly do the same thing? When they post tweets from him (and others) on their blog posts? I don’t think so.
As an individual, it may seem odd to have one’s own tweets Storified more than once – but that’s a very ego-centric perspective. If you look outside yourself, and see that he quotes many people (myself included), and it’s not all about ONE person, you can see that’s he’s no different to anybody else on Twitter who follows a number of different users and shares a number of different tweets.
Regarding Ana Mardoll
Ana has gotten herself involved in this debate. She chose to get herself involved. As ElevatorGATE follows so many people, and sees so many things happening on twitter, she WILL be noticed because she’s already in conversations with people he often sees crop up in his twitter feeds. Not only him. Anybody who follows or has a link to the other people involved.
SHE chose to make herself part of the debate and, as far as she’s made clear, ElevatorGATE never Storified her before this point.
A group of people who dislike what ElevatorGATE does appealed to Storify, and they removed EG’s ability to notify people via email. Fair enough move. That means he’s left to create his stories all he wants, and they never need to see him in their inbox. They’re still creating public content, and he’s still doing his thing. Nobody is being bothered by it. EG, himself, has said he’s happy with this.
But his critics weren’t happy with that, so they decided to appeal to Xavier Damman, Storify CEO, and try to make him BAN ElevatorGATE from his site. He disagreed with their point of view (again, as MANY people do. Opinions are not facts) and they didn’t like that. He happened to include @ElevatorGATE into the conversation (which didn’t even include Ana at this point, mind you!), so they pounced on him for that.
“You’ve drawn attention to a known stalker!”
This then resulted in a targeted attack on Xavier who has, at this point, been nothing but fair and happy to address their concerns. Bear in mind, ElevatorGATE would have seen this conversation anyway, because he ALREADY follows other people who were engaged in it. So Xavier’s input made no difference here. He doesn’t need to be @’ed in, to see what is happening. We all follow different people and retweet and link to each other. That’s how Twitter works.
Regardless of these facts, Ana decided to vilify Xavier.
“Storify CEO sends my name to a known stalker!”
First of all, EG is not “a known stalker”. That is an entirely subjective point of view. As you can see above, I explain why I don’t think he is. Many (hundreds) of people agree with this assessment. Secondly, Xavier did NOT send her name to him. It may have been a bit of a strange move to add in “@elevatorgate” but he added it into a tweet that didn’t even include her name. Still, this doesn’t stop people jumping on the bandwagon and hounding him over something he isn’t even guilty of! All it takes is a bit of common sense and objectivity.
My opinion is that these people are more annoyed that Xavier did not agree with them, so they jumped on the first thing they could to make him look like the bad guy, and create an emotional appeal.
Further from that, I believe they only dislike what ElevatorGATE does because they know he’s scrutinising what they’re saying. If ElevatorGATE was somebody working from THEIR perspective, Storifying everything they disagree with, they’d love it! They’d be having a great laugh!
I DO NOT believe ElevatorGATE is a stalker. There’s absolutely no evidence of that. I DO think he has a level of dedication to Storifying people which I couldn’t do myself but, like I say, he’s using a piece of software that makes it easier.
But regardless of this, to attack Xavier Damman was completely uncalled for. Ana has made herself the centre of attention – not because she’s a victim of anything, but because she WANTS to be important in this debate. She WANTS to appear as if she’s taking on this “perceived threat”. Regardless of any issues she may have, SHE has drawn the attention to herself.
That’s not “victim blaming” – because she’s not a victim of anything, other than her own perception of what has occurred!