For those who don't live on the internet: a customer service dispute ended up on the internet. The specifics are below, but they aren't relevant:
A guy pre-ordered an Avenger Controller from the manufacturer. It never came, so the customer complained. Ocean Marketing ran the customer service for the manufacturer, and Paul Christoforo was the contact person. The general form of Paul's responses to the customer were, "you're a jerk, I have no time for jerks." That may be a slight mischaracterization, but not really:
Buddy your asking for free stuff and I am trying to help you , You have no idea what happened to our ordering system or our old customer service reps that told you they were going to send you a 100% COUPON AND FREE CONTROLLER but never did . So calm yourself down , be respectful and do as I say or ask to get your free controller. I DEAD SERIOUS ! Be a little more humble we can refuse the right to ship out anything to anyone we want , I'm trying to help you. Small claims court for 49 dollars haha ... that's cute . I'm the President of my company not The Avengers so keep your punk smite ignorant comments to yourself. If I wasn't trying to help you I wouldn't have emailed you back. Customer service of old is gone were in a new generation now. Sorry for any inconvenience , this will ship tomorrow I'm putting in the order now .
The customer is only N=1, so he used the only power he had: he forwarded the emails to the the Penny Arcade guy, who also happens to own the entire internet. The result: it gets to Reddit, who send him thousands of emails, phone calls, outing him as a possible steroid user, discovering a police report of domestic abuse charges, etc.
He's tried to apologize, but his ego keeps getting in the way.
There's one other thing you need to know. Paul Christoforo looks like this:
Paul's an idiot, and a bully. So what?
Here's what no one on Reddit seems to understand. To anyone not in the demo for an Avenger Controller, the Avenger Controller is a joystick. Which means that thousands of people ganged up on this guy, got him fired, harassed him, and potentially ruined his career-- over a joystick. I can see you want to interrupt me and say something about the principle of it, let me just say one more thing and I'll give you your time: to the United States government, it looks like the dangerous party is the internet.
Paul's a bully, but bullies can get bullied, right? Reddit just went Dylan Klebold on Paul Christoforo. Who is the state going to side with?
The trouble here is that it's not one 4 year old, it's thousands.
You can't argue this point because I am not telling you what is reality, I am telling you how it "looks" to the suits and ties who generate your world. The Law doesn't see Paul Christoforo's hair plugs or legal blindness or broken spellchecker. It sees a businessman, it agrees to believe he is a businessman so that it can believe he is under attack. It is fortunate for Reddit that this picture existed, because they'd have to invent it if it didn't, because if Paul was pictured in a suit and tie, if he was in his sixties, if he looked like the symbol of businessman that the Law already sees him as-- Reddit would cease to exist.
The government's claim is that we need increased security on the net to protect us from criminals, hackers, and terrorists, but that is the lie we all agree to believe. The real threat to the system, the one that will eventually result in the abolition of anonymity is the deepest fear of all Americans, it is so deep that it shaped the Constitution: tyranny of the majority.
The internet community thinks it exposed a bad dealer, gave him what's coming to him. I won't disagree. I'm only telling you that that's not what the government sees. It sees this, and only this:
I spent my childhood moving from school to school and I got made fun of everyplace I landed," [Penny Arcade's Gabe Krahulik] says. "When these assholes threaten me or Penny Arcade I just laugh. I will personally burn everything I've made to the fucking ground if I think I can catch them in the flames.
Don't yell at me, I love Penny Arcade. But the government sees only this, and it sees this written by someone who has way too much power for an internet cartoonist.
China requires all internet users to register their real names. So does Google+. They're not afraid of criminals. They're afraid of ____________.