When I screw up, as I did on this blog a few months ago, I am quick to correct the mistake. I usually hope that others will do the same. Alas, it doesn’t always happen that way…
And that leaves me facing a choice: let the misinformation remain uncorrected (potentially confusing people and spreading the false claim even further) or try to correct it myself, potentially coming off as petty and vindictive.
It’s really a no-win scenario for me…which is why I hate having to decide what do do when confronted with blatant misinformation. In this case, I’m choosing to shine a light on the situation and try to correct it. And I apologize in advance if I seem petty or vindictive, as that’s not my intention. And hey, feel free to skip this blog entry if you prefer to come here just for the fan film stuff. I’ll get back to that after this blog.
So here’s what happened…
JAMES HAMS is one of those people I refer to as “detractors,” and we’ve had our fair share of disagreements. Somewhere around late October of last year, James decided to set up his own blog similar to Fan Film Factor, focusing on Star Trek fan productions. In fact, it was even named TrekFanProductions.com. It’s a very decent site, and I’ve actually recommended it to others. James works very hard to get interviews from and news about numerous fan producers and their projects, and it’s certainly worth checking out if you’re a follower of Trek fan films.
(By the way, if you’re wondering why I’m saying such nice things about “the competition,” it’s because we’re all on the same team. I feel the same way about the Star Trek Reviewed blog. You can drink Coke AND Pepsi AND Dr. Pepper…read the New York Times AND the Washington Post AND the Wall Street Journal…enjoy Star Trek AND Star Wars AND Orville. Trek fan films need all the support and exposure they can get. So viva la fan film blogs!)
Then why is Jonathan so pissed off?
Well, at first I didn’t even know about James’ latest blog. He’d written something titled “The Fan Film Guidelines – Breakdown/Analysis, Part 1.” You can read it here. As I write this, it has not yet been corrected. But just in case that changes and anyone starts wondering what the heck got me so hot under the tunic, here’s a screen cap of the part of it that led to this blog…
Now, I don’t mind if James wants to bash SMALL ACCESS. He’s welcome to editorialize all he wants to…just as I do from time to time. He can have him own opinions, no problem. What he can’t be allowed to have, however, is his own facts.
And so do I.
In fact, no sooner had I started SMALL ACCESS in late June of last year than I posted this important message:
Not only was I not encouraging login/password sharing (a form of piracy) but also any form of piracy like downloading bit torrents. However, 400 new members joined over the next week, and many had not seen my post, and some had begun discussing ways of viewing Star Trek: Discovery illegally. This led to one of my trusty moderators posting this not-exactly-friendly reminder:
It was shortly after this that the moderators and I decided to revise our rules to make it VERY clear that getting Discovery in any illegal way was a BIG no-no. We even made it our second rule (please note: the rules were just revised recently, and I don’t have a screen cap of the previous version, but rule #2 was essentially the same in both versions)…
Now, as I said, I was initially unaware that James had written a blog mentioning SMALL ACCESS, let alone that he had accused us encouraging people to violate the rules of CBS All Access. The first I knew of this was when one of my moderators, DAVE HEAGNEY, JR. copied me on an e-mail thread between him and James. It began with this message from Dave to James…
We at Small Access do not advocate, nor plan to utilize the sharing of people’s All Access login information to accomplish our goals. Indeed, we routinely shut down anyone who mentions watch the show via ANY means of piracy. Had you perused our site, you would have seen that. I expect this to be corrected immediately!
Okay, kinda aggressive, I admit. But I appreciate that Dave is jumping on something like this so quickly and definitively. After all, it’s a pretty serious piece of misinformation that could threaten to pull the rug out from under SMALL ACCESS. I’m not sure whether or not James was purposefully trying to sabotage the group or get us bad press, but the potential for that outcome is glaringly obvious. After all, I wouldn’t want to join a Facebook group advocating for something illegal. Would you?
James responded about two hours later (a courteously prompt response)…
Thank you for your email.
Please can you provide the URL to the content you are reporting along with any screen caps and URLs to the content that backs up your claim, once I have this information I will assess it and edit any content needed.
Not sure I would have chosen the “please back up your claim” approach myself. But hey, it’s his blog, and it’s a perfectly valid response….as was Dave’s reply…
This is the link to the page. Click on the description to the right to see the rules “Proof1.png” is the accompanying screen cap. It shouldn’t be hard for you to find, considering you pulled part of the description from there for your blog post.
These links are to no less than three occasions of the group owner or moderator making a post regarding our policy against piracy.
In short, your claim is scurrilous, and you have no good-faith basis on which to make it. I expect a retraction of this claim, and an apology posted on your blog for making such a claim in the first place.
That all happened on Tuesday afternoon (my time). I came home from Jayden’s gymnastics class to read the e-mail chain and promptly sent James a follow-up myself. I told him that I don’t really need an apology, but I do need a retraction.
And it’s not enough to simply remove the three blue words”sharing login details“. Even though James’ blog doesn’t get much user traffic, people have still already read that blog entry…even if it’s just a few dozen or even a hundred. And this is how rumors and “fake news” get started.
So I asked James Hams specifically for a correction and retraction. I concluded my e-mail with the following:
I sincerely hope, however, that I can conclude that blog entry with a congratulations to you, James, for acting professionally and responsibly in correcting the errors in your blog. You generally do good work in the world of fan films, and I would like to continue recommending your blog to others with a clear conscience.
I am hopeful you will do the right thing.
This time we didn’t hear back in two hours. But to be fair, by that point, it was getting toward the middle of the night in Great Britain. So Dave and I waited until what was the next afternoon for James, and Dave sent this follow-up…
It is now 5:40PM your time. You have had ample time to review the evidence showing that the assertion in your blog is scurrilous and not based in fact. It should not have taken you more than 20 minutes (the time it took me to assemble the evidence). We would appreciate the courtesy of at least receiving some kind of response from you regarding this and the other issues Mr. Lane has expressed about your article, and what you intend to do regarding them.
“Mr. Lane”…gotta chuckle at that one. Thanks, Dave.
But what I can’t chuckle at is the potential damage this blog does to SMALL ACCESS the longer it stays up uncorrected and underacted. As you might remember from my Monday blog, we’re currently doing a push with HeadTalker to try to increase the size of our membership…and we’ve only got 6 days left!
(Speaking of which, if you haven’t joined SMALL ACCESS yet, please consider doing so by clicking here. And also, if you have a moment for a few mouse clicks, we could also use some help with our HeadTalker campaign. Click here to help with that.)
So anyway, with the clock ticking, we waited for Jame’s reply, which came back about 90 minutes later…
Thank you for you follow up email, as of 19.29pm 17/07/16 I am looking into this issue.
Please expect a reply within the next 7 days.
I’ll skip the WTF and all the other shocked things I could say because I’m sure you folks can fill in those blanks for yourselves.
Instead, I’ll cut to the chase. We’ve got 6 days left in the HeadTalker campaign. (And did I mention you can click here to help with that? Oh, yeah, I did.) If it takes 7 days for James to even get us a response…well, you can do the math.
And that, my friends, is why I’m writing this long-winded blog. (I’m pissed, not pithy.) If James is going to needlessly drag his feet in even responding—let alone redacting and correcting—then I’ve got no choice but to use the power of the pen (and the blog) myself.
Please, whether you’re a SMALL ACCESS member or not, please help us out by either posting a link to this blog or simply letting your friends know that the information on TrekFanProductions.com is incorrect and that SMALL ACCESS has never advocated that our members do anything illegal. (And remember that HeadTalker! Yeah, I’m shameless in pushing that).
Anyway, that’s the end of my rant for today. Hopefully James Hams will do the right thing and correct his error—there’s still time, but not seven days—because I’d really like to conitnue being able to praise and recommend his blog site to others.