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On The Flip Side
by Michael Munger

Mac vs. PC, YOUR Mistakes Serve The Dark Side
August 31st, 1999

In the debate involving PC fans against Mac fans, the Macintosh side makes many huge mistakes. Because of this, the Dark Side benefits big time.

The best example of this is the John Dvorak case. Ever since he wrote something about the feminine side of the iBook, he was flamed on all the possible sites of the Mac Web community.

What's wrong with this? By responding to his confrontational words, the people who vented their ire at him served little save to give him huge publicity. Ponder this: everybody who answered his column gave a link to the story and therefore allowed visitors to go read him and be influenced by him.

Thousands of Mac users sniff their way around news sites on the Web to find something to munch on. To furnish a direct link to Dvorak's low-level rants means providing his site with many thousands of hits. You wanted to take him down, but instead you gave him publicity and money. More importantly, you gave him the influence, or at the very least the impact, that he wanted to have.

What I described above is a major boo boo made by Mac users and site columnists. Do not spit venom on your arch rivals, ignore them. Why? People attacked in public become martyrs or at least see their visibility increased. If they do not deserve it, why do you give it to them? This applies to people who send them a lot of flame mail too!

I consider men such as Dvorak a part of a yelling minority that does not represent anybody. The same goes for many groups in our societies. The moment you give them importance, they weigh more in the balance than they should.

I will use a highly controversial case to explain further. If I say Nazism, does it ring a bell? I always laugh at anti-Nazi sites that provide direct links to the neo-Nazis' Web sites. If they hate this ideology so much, they should not link to them. The readers get easy access to the groups in question. You know?

Restraint is the best policy to adopt. For instance, I hate a particular Internet tool out there because of its specific approach in its field. I want it to disappear. Have you ever noticed that I never talked about it in any of my columns? This is because in most cases, bad publicity is great publicity. I will not serve them. No sir.

The PC platform and its peanut gallery will always benefit from publicity if you attack it the wrong way. This does not mean we should never refute what PC folks say, we just have to find the right approach to do it.

Unlike many of our Mac colleagues, we should never transform our refutations into publicity.

Your comments are welcomed.

Michael Munger is a French Canadian living in Montreal. He discovered the Mac in 1994 while studying journalism, the profession he loves and practices. He also studied history and communications. In addition to his work at The Mac Observer, he authors the iBasics tutorial column at Low End Mac, and cofounded MacSoldiers in 1998.

You can find more about him at his personal Web site.

You are welcome to send me your comments or you can post them below.

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