Feb 18, 2010

Extra, extra: what do you think?

An interesting event occurred on Maggie Stiefvater's blog and I am looking for some extra analyses.

Maggie received a public note on a networking site asking for homework help (asking to be reminded of the ending of Shiver for a project) that was due the next day. She posted the note on her blog as an example of the dozens of notes she receives asking for homework help and her annoyance at these shortcut-seeking actions. In the comments, lots of people chipped in about the laziness of students and the ridiculous idea that an author should help you with your homework.

Well apparently things got a little heavy-handed and it turned out that the inquirer in question was only a middle-schooler who did not realize his/her error. Maggie has since taken down the post and reassured everyone that "poking at the ignorant and innocent is not amusing like poking at the lazy and indolent." I believe that to be a very diplomatic way of saying, "play nice with those who actually try versus those who don't try."

Now it seems, some fans are revoking their fandom claiming that she is cruel for ridiculing a poor student and that she should apologize for her behavior. They also claim that she is not being a very good role model for the young adults that she writes for.

Personally, I think she has every right to do what she pleases. If it had been a confidential letter I would say otherwise, but this person made it public on their own and it ended up becoming a case of being in the "wrong place at the wrong time." This student got caught in an author's justifiable frustration and annoyance due to a constant bombardment of requests for help that is not really warranted. I believe that Maggie has done nothing to be sorry for and that she reacted accordingly. Some of the comments (which were also taken down) seemed to rant and rave a bit much on behalf of Maggie and bordered on crossing a line, but I don't think that was Maggie's intention.

So now that you have the details, what do you think? Do you think Maggie's actions were inappropriate? What about the commenters? Should they get off scot-free, while Maggie is taking some mean comments? Also, do you think that this is a wider issue of social media and networking? Let the comments/ideas roll!


throuthehaze said...

I think Maggie's actions were justified. For starters she didn't know the person was in middle school. Also, like you said the person made it public wasn't private to begin with. I really don't think being in middle school excuses the person for asking Maggie to do their work for them. There is really no cause for people to lash out at Maggie....should she apologize? I don't think so. I believe that taking down the post and comments was a nice gesture, and that is more than enough in my opinion.

YzhaBella (aka Kate) said...

Unfortunately, "Tis Life" as they say. Wether on a blog, on the radio, TV, in the newspaper or in general conversation. We all must double check what we say simply to "Try" to avoid this type of predicament. While Maggie had no ill intent, I am sure, there are always those who "enjoy" using any excuse to berate another. Those who feel it is their "right" to belittle and insult others (usually to make themselves feel better) and then say: "But I was defending you"! Well, as grateful as I would be to have such a devoted fan, I didn't ask to be defended. Ergo, to blame me for the actions of an un-recruited defender is irresponsible. It's a sad day when I make a comment about my work, others take it to far,it snowballs and then I get the brunt of the fallout?...I don't think so.... But, unfortunately its the way the world has always been, the new medias just make it more easy to see.

Emily said...

I missed the original blog post but read the followup one and personally was kind of uncomfortable with the whole situation. I felt like the message being sent was "it's okay to be a jerk as long as you're not a jerk to someone who's a member of a vulnerable population." The vibe I got was that it wasn't the mocking that was wrong, it was the fact that the person being mocked was a middle schooler that made it wrong. I mean, on the one hand I do commend Ms. Stiefvater for maintaining responsibility for what's on her blog and taking steps to change things when they get out of hand, but on the other hand, she's a YA author; she's got to expect a certain number of odd or at least unpolished requests and hey, that's what delete and ignore buttons are for. I guess I would have left the post up but locked comments. The person who made the request probably should have known better, but if Ms. Stiefvater's point was to deter people from doing the same thing in the future then that might be a good reminder.

What Book is That?

April (BooksandWine) said...

Honestly, from a teacher perspective, I think Stiefvater was completely in the right, and kids are never too young to do their schoolwork themselves. Let me tell you, Middle Schoolers are more than capable. I think she did the right thing by not encouraging laziness, and if the kid really didn't want to read the book there's this magical website called google, just type in ending of book Shiver and I'm sure it would pop up.

Misty said...

"Personally, I think she has every right to do what she pleases."
Amen. People act like celebrities and what not are supposed to bow to them and be so gracious and accommodating. It's ridiculous. And middle school is plenty old enough to know better.
Besides, it's not like she kept on ridiculing once she realized the kids age. People should get over it.