Wednesday, August 06, 2008

The Think System

I've probably devoted more bandwidth to l'affaire Beer Olympics than it deserves. But in the clamor to evaluate the situation (and hope beyond hope it's the proverbial straw on the camel's back for this kind of non-news news), I have yet to see a good critique of the true mistake-maker in the whole thing: The Olympic-class nimrod who not only took the picture but posted it on a public networking site.

I don't know where the picture originated, but for a site like The Big Lead to get their hands on it, they either took it (very doubtful) or were sent it by someone who saw it somewhere (very likely). This means some nitwit took a picture of football players at a party and, for whatever reason, decided to share them.

Now, obviously I have some experience running a website*, so I have a reasonably good idea what led to the posting. Someone had football players at his party and wanted to show his friends at home he was hanging out with them. One of the players' friends wanted to make sure everyone saw the goofy "uniforms" they were wearing. I'd like to think it wasn't because someone wanted to get them into trouble. But any or all could have been the cause.

Unfortunately, as so many in their situation do, the poster didn't think it through and realize what posting something on the Internet does.

So often, people on message boards or social websites or the Internet in general get caught up in the individual conversations or exchanges that take place through the electronic medium and forget the wider audience involved. If you're sending an email to your buddy, Joe, it never occurs to you other people might see it if Joe decides to forward it. If you're participating in a message board thread, you're focused on your discussion with a couple of other posters, not realizing thousands of other people who aren't posting are reading it (and maybe copying it into emails and sending it to even more people). When you put something on MySpace or FaceBook (or even LinkedIn), it goes beyond your 10 friends on the cheerleading squad, and may end up with teachers or parents before it's done.

It happens over and over (as detailed by The Fire). This isn't even the first Notre Dame-related example ... I recall an email written by a recruit's dad that ended up forwarded to thousands of people. In the email, he shared some details about his son's visit to ND, including some exchanges with coaches that were meant to be private. Both the dad and the kid ended up very embarrassed over the entire thing. But again, it wasn't thought through.

I suppose what bothers me the most about it is the response in these situations is never, "Gee, maybe I should think before I post something online", but rather, "Stop harshing our buzz, man, I can post what I want." You should never blame other people because you don't think. Remember the Miranda warning: Anything you say can and will be used against you. Would you walk into your parents' bedrooms and tell them, "Wow, you wouldn't believe how many beers I had last night" as a senior in high school? Would you tell your wife about the hot girl you were flirting with at a bar when you were away on a business trip? Only if you're an idiot. But if you post it online, you're as good as doing that. Idiot.

As I've said many times about NDNation, when you open something up to the public, the public tends to show up and you shouldn't blame them when they do. Unless the medium you're participating in is somehow restricted, like a premium content website, what's said to one is being said to all. To expect people not to read your publicly-available profile or site or post because you have a right to privacy is at best self-contradictory and at worst really really stupid.

So next time you're going to hit the "post message" or "upload photo" buttons, think for a minute: Who is the absolute last person I'd want to see this picture, and what are the chances he or she has Internet access? Then think a little more.

* private joke, relax

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Blogger jmendoz2 said...

two things
1. people can post whatever pictures they want, it's not their job to protect the players
2. who cares if tehy are drinking? the players should be more aware and mention to disguise the pictures but whoever took them to call them an idiot? get off your high horse buddy people can do what they want not what's best for effin jimmy clausen

8/06/2008 03:21:00 PM  
Blogger Mike Coffey said...

Back at you

1) Yes, people can post what they want. But the picture is of someone else doing something, not them doing something. Did they have permission to take that picture, and post it in a public forum? If they want to post pictures of themselves doing something, fine.

2) I didn't care if anyone was drinking and said so.

3) As you said, people can do what they want. But doing what you want involves accepting the consequences of your actions, meaning possibly getting negative blowback for doing it.

4) I fail to see how posting a picture like that is good for anyone. What need was met? What value was provided? I think it was a really dumbass thing to do, and said so.

8/06/2008 03:27:00 PM  
Blogger Wolf '02 said...

I have to agree with jmendoz2. These are kids and they are going to post pics of partying....with granted permission or not. The likelihood of the post is even greater when you are dealing with a spotlight athelete.

Nonetheless, nothing can be proven from these pics and it's attracting WAY too much attention.

Kickoff is exactly a month about a discussion on how Claussen's rocket arm is performing.

GO Irish!

8/06/2008 03:36:00 PM  
Blogger jmendoz2 said...

1) Let's assume it's a social networking photo (likely). You really think people go asking for permission for pictures? You are there it's a party, I'm guessing the waiver didn't get around to them.
2) We agree on this, it's college.
3) The person who took the picture has no consequences to face. The negative blowback happened to the players who were at a party. It sucks because it's silly to investigate someone for having fun but I don't see any consequences to the photographer.
4) Do you really need a picture to have a purpose? Facebook pictures are put up all the time of meaningless crap, it's not photo journalism, it's a way to remember the drunken fun nights you have in college. Nothing dumb about it.

I think we agree that it's silly for this thing to be in the news, there are far more egregious offenses. But I take an issue that you are insulting someone for putting a picture up, players are aware of their celebrity status on campus, I've seen it. No one is at fault to me, it's more just a sensationalism of covering every last inch of a sports persona's life.

8/06/2008 03:37:00 PM  
Blogger Mike Coffey said...

"Do you really need a picture to have a purpose? Facebook pictures are put up all the time of meaningless crap, it's not photo journalism, it's a way to remember the drunken fun nights you have in college. Nothing dumb about it."

Yes, it is dumb, because there's an underlying assumption there that people should give a shit about your "drunken fun nights you have in college".

You want memories, save the pictures on your PC and look at them whenever you want. Publishing them on the Internet is nothing more than narcissism and could lead to other people getting in trouble. I realize it's a stretch to think about others, but that's what you're supposed to be learning at ND.

8/06/2008 03:40:00 PM  
Anonymous imund said...

The broad point of the original post is a worthwhile one, but I don't think it's applicable to the situation at hand. Many people enjoy sharing moments with their friends, and social networking sites provide an effective medium for doing so. Sharing photos, whether of oneself or of others, however, carries a responsibility to exercise discretion. Posting incriminating or embarrassing pictures should avoided due to the potential, or even likelihood, that the pictures will be disseminated to an unexpected and unwanted audience. But the bottom line in this case is that there is nothing particularly embarrassing or incriminating about the pictures. If you don't believe there is anything wrong with college kids drinking beer (a fair position to take), then you shouldn't fault the person who took and/or posted the pictures.

8/06/2008 03:54:00 PM  
Anonymous Rick King said...

jmendoz2 -- give it up. Coffey is a guy who has his own (most of the time ridiculous) opinions on the world and all things Notre Dame and will put down anyone who dares disagree with his opinions. Clearly he knows what is best for everyone when it comes to Notre Dame and frankly Im surprised he hasnt been named next in line to be president of our lady's university.

8/06/2008 03:57:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey rick, why do you read the blog then?

And please don't say so you can laugh at him or something like that, thats a waste of time.

8/06/2008 04:08:00 PM  
Anonymous Rick King said...

witty, anonymous. I actually only read it because it was forwarded to me as one of those 'look at what this guy wrote' articles. The only other interaction Ive had with him is when I wrote a letter to the Observer my senior year after we got smoked by Michigan and apparently he still reads the Observer and let me know how Im not a "Notre Dame man"

8/06/2008 04:13:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Are you really getting your undies in a bunch because someone wrote a letter to the Observer?

Get a life, dude.

8/06/2008 04:22:00 PM  
Blogger jmendoz2 said...

Since apparently you didn't get my earlier response, my response to the narcissistic, I don't care about others crap. First of all, ND obviously failed me since I am a me-first person for defending someone for putting up a picture of people at a party without thinking of how this could ruffle jimmy clausen's image. Get down from the ivory tower man. Since when are you an authority on what people can and can't post? As far as people giving a shit at what I do, they can either stop and look or not, it's that simple. Some people want to look at it, it's called sharing photos on social networking sites, just like you sure your pedantic rants on here. The fact is that a lot of ND Nation has become a one way lovefest for ND without ever stopping to think that maybe this is silly, and maybe the football players should not be put in this position. So spare me your lecture on what I should do with my pictures. I am glad you had some time to break away from your round table discussion as to what it means to be an ND grad and what paths to follow to not be an idiot to address a lowly minion like myself.

GO Irish.

8/06/2008 04:32:00 PM  
Blogger Mike Coffey said...

I agree it's silly, and I agree the football players shouldn't be put in this position.

That would be accomplished if people didn't put pictures like this on the Internet where millions of people could see them.

8/06/2008 04:38:00 PM  
Blogger Mike Coffey said...

Rich, sorry you don't enjoy the blog.

8/06/2008 04:38:00 PM  
Blogger jmendoz2 said...

That's not the point, you took a pretty harsh stance on someone for posting a picture of a party. Using "idiots" and "dumbass" (I think I could be wrong). I stated no one is at fault and yo uare taking a self-righteous approach saying that they should be careful on posting pictures when I'm saying it's not their fault or their problem if people take these pictures to new heights. I agree with your earlier column that no one probably cares and that ND launched this investigation as a front in my opinion, to pretend they care. So why call out someone for putting a picture up?

8/06/2008 04:44:00 PM  
Blogger Mike Coffey said...

But why put the picture up in the first place?

I'm sorry if it comes off as harsh, but I get so sick of people thinking they can put anything they want on the Internet and it should be consequence-free. Life is not a consequence-free game.

Yes, it's dopey that the media would glom onto this, but glomming on to stuff like this is what they do. Like the tiger that bit Sigfried's Roy: he didn't go crazy, he went tiger.** Wouldn't it be easier if the picture wasn't there for them to grab?

** Thank you, Chris Rock

8/06/2008 04:59:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

- exercise caution when posting pics. no one cares if they see a pic of me drinking on the internet b/c im a nobody. BUT, it is a big deal when a very recongnizable athlete is seen. they can be recognized w/o a caption. few people who have viewed that pic recognize anyone else in it. chances are that some of them may be underage too, but nobody is harping about that. my guess is the person who posted the pics are not good friends w the players b/c they would be aware of their situation. Just exercise caution, it's not hard to leave out a couple pics when posting online and try to put yourself in the players' shoes.

8/06/2008 05:36:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

But for the fact that it's the ND quarterback, this would be a non-story. But # 7 needs to be accountable (to himself and to his team) for his actions and to put his Team and the University at the forefront of his decision making. Old Notre Dame motto: What's Important Now (WIN). Under Coach Holtz there was a zero tolerance alcohol ban for players under the age of 21. Presumably, CW has a similar rule. # 7 apparently violated that rule -- please don't ring the plausible deniability bell b/c there is not a photo of him imbibing -- and consequently exposed himself and the program to negative attention. He needs to be more thoughtful about what he is doing and whom he is around. The lights are bright and the scrutiny is intense. Is that unfair? Maybe. But had # 7 simply adhered to the rules and put Team first there would've been no photos to post. Brady Quinn managed to get through 4 years w/out a "beergate" incident. Maturity and judgment -- Charlie needs to engrain these asap. Finally, "who cares if they drink" -- apparently the Team Rules and Indiana State Law. Assuming that there is a team rule against drinking and it was violated, what does the infraction say about the level of respect for the program and its head?

8/06/2008 06:13:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Free speech. Free posting. I think it's refreshing to know what's really going on. Instead of getting sensored, regurgitated, bland, politically correct info. from the university. I wouldn't say a college kid drinking beer is a big deal, but when the QB and other players are getting drunk instead of 'in shape' after a 3-9 season, that tells me enough. If they were 9-3, sure go have a few. Just like CW going all over the country. Going 3-9, you don't deserve any perks.

8/06/2008 06:38:00 PM  
Blogger Sean H. said...

jmendoz2: Rest assured that in my college days if you had posted pictures of me drinking(when I was underage) etc. on the internet, you would have received a visit from me. You may have been bigger but I travelled in packs and we owned baseball bats.

Put down the f'ing camera and have some fun.

Not thinking that posting those pictures was going to start a sh!tstorm because they involved something that at least looks like beer and the QB from the most/least popular college football team in the country makes the original poster and idiot.

8/06/2008 07:13:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

RIch - I'm not buying your reason for reading. "A guy sent it to knowing perfectly well where the link led, I clicked on it. Then read it. Then made a comment. Then hung around to respond."

You're probably the type of guys at ND that I hated.

8/06/2008 09:54:00 PM  
Anonymous tednict said...

One month from tonight the Irish will be 1-0 looking forward to their encounter with the Skunkbears. That game will be the first vaulting point in the season. Let's turn our attention to the season that lies ahead.


8/06/2008 10:09:00 PM  
Anonymous John said...

Rick, I saw your letter to the observer. Allow someone who is not Mike Coffey to tell you that your letter was not indicative of someone who understands what ND is about.

"It's all about winning" is an NFL, mercenary attitude. Leaving is a sign of this mercenary attitude. ND players are not mercenaries, they are your classmates.

Supporting your teammates is not supporting failure, but rather applauding their effort.

They're not f'ing there to entertain you like a gladiator (as in the NFL). They're busting their ass working in the classroom and on the field. Staying at the game and cheering until the end is not supporting failure, it is applauding their effort.

And if you don't understand why applauding their effort is a good thing, then you definitely don't get what amateur athletics, ND, and good sportsmanship is about. It might help if you moved to Oakland and joined raider nation.

8/07/2008 08:05:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I know it's hard for u and the others who run this site to ever place blame on the beloved players, but it's on Clausen, a person in a very high-profile position, to behave beyond reproach. Like it or not, he's held to a higher set of standards. Don't blame the person with the camera in his or her hand, blame the players...they need to remember what they are doing and whey they're doing it at all times.

8/07/2008 03:20:00 PM  
Blogger jmendoz2 said...

Agreed last Anon, agreed. Also, Sean H. you are such a dbag it's worth mentioning. You and your bat gang crack down on all partygoers with cameras? Loser. You and your midget bat gang can go, well since half my comments don't get blogger approval, I'll leave it rated PG-13.

8/07/2008 03:28:00 PM  
Blogger Mike Coffey said...

You still haven't answered my question: Why is it OK for someone to publicly distribute pictures of someone else doing something without their permission?

If someone took a picture of you and posted it on the Internet (or even worse, Photoshopped it somehow first), wouldn't that piss you off, especially if it ended up causing you problems?

When I went to ND, we looked out for each other ... not just the football players, but everyone in the ND family. We didn't put pictures on the Internet that would screw someone over. Maybe times really have changed.

8/07/2008 03:38:00 PM  
Blogger jmendoz2 said...

Photoshopping is a whole different animal, that's false representation. As far as posting pictures online, I don't think there was any intent, they just put a picture up from a party everyone does that, I don't see a huge lack of judgment in that. As far as watching out for one another, how is Clausen watching out for his school by putting himself in the situation? I don't think there is anything wrong with putting the picture up and I don't think there is anything wrong with him and Aldridge and Allen being at a party. As far as someone putting pictures of me up that would cause me problems, I don't know I'll tell you when it happens. Let us not forget we ostracized Matt Leinart for his party pictures which is a similar situation and no one blamed the cameraman, they blamed Leinart for being so reckless and immature. The difference between me and Jimmy Clausen is that if I fall off the face of the earth tomorrow 1% of the ND family would take notice so it's not the same. With a high prestige position comes high responsibility and if that means that you can't party well that sucks I'm sorry, it's not up to the people at the party to protect you. I think the accountability is at the wrong end. What if this picture was taking by someone who didn't go to ND and was visiting? There are so many ifs on that side of the story but one undeniable truth: the players were committing an illegal act. One that to me is very innocent and could not care any less about, but nevertheless illegal.

8/07/2008 03:46:00 PM  
Anonymous '05 grad said...

jmendoz2 - wow, you MUST have lived in Zahm!

I for one, agree with Coffey to an extent. I think its a little too idealic to expect other people to think of other before posting pictures or rumors, but it sure would be nice if they would. But I know, "its a free country" and no one can make you be a good person. Which is kind of sad.

When it comes to people posting stupid pictures of themselves, now I think Coffey is exactly right. Those people are idiots. Remember the football player who posted the myspace pic of them in the backseat of a car with a ton of money? STUPID! Wasnt there just a reporter who was fired for post lewd pictures of herself on her facebook? STUPID!

8/07/2008 03:48:00 PM  
Blogger Mike Coffey said...

But that's exactly my point. Sure, anyone can post a picture of whatever they want. But being part of a family means you take two or three seconds to think, "Hey, this could really cause trouble for this guy, maybe I shouldn't do it." That's what I do for my brother, and if someone's wearing an ND ring, he's my brother.

Yes, they were doing "an illegal act". But the poster of the picture had it in his power to help his brother. He decided his brother wasn't worth helping, or didn't even think about it. That's not how people in the ND family are supposed to act, towards football players or classmates or anyone else.

That's how ND used to be, at least.

8/07/2008 03:57:00 PM  
Blogger jmendoz2 said...

No I did not live in Zahm.

Mike, I guess we won't come to an agreement on this but just answer me this: if that pictured would have been Mark Sanchez who would be the idiot Sanchez or the cameraman?

I'm pretty sure ND teaches that we are all "brothers" here on God's earth but there is hypocrisy when it comes to the people that wear the gold helmets in the fall. Nothing convinces me that the camera guy is at fault, the players should have known better, if not because we live in a voyeur culture. If you think ND has changed because of my opinion and think I don't care fine, I will not lose an ounce of sleep. I also learned something called accountability for my actions. If someone called the police saying I was speeding even though the road was empty I would take the ticket because it was MY fault. But I guess ND was a better place back in the day.

As for this whole picture thing, nothing will happen at the end they will all play the season opener and the camera guy will keep taking pictures at party and I will still be a selfish ND grad apparently.

8/07/2008 04:06:00 PM  
Anonymous ndrobert said...

Wouldn't it be great if someone, anyone, would just consider that Clausen, a person in a high-profile position, the ND QB afterall, should know that he must live his life to a higher standard than us regular folks. Might not be fair and no, the situation was different in the pre-Internet age, but we're in the Internet/instant information age--jocks have to watch themselves.

8/07/2008 04:06:00 PM  
Blogger Mike Coffey said...

if that pictured would have been Mark Sanchez who would be the idiot Sanchez or the cameraman?

Answer: The cameraman. You have this idea that I think things are OK when ND people do them and not when other people do them. I don't know where you got that idea, but it's wrong-headed. And don't come back with "people on NDNation would say so", because no reasonable person in the universe would see it that way.

Yes, people would be accountable for their actions. But what would you think, had you sped on that road you thought was empty, of the old woman sitting on her front porch that took down your license plate and called the police. Yes, you were speeding, but she went out of her way to be a bitch. The fact that you were speeding says something about you. What does what the woman did say about her?

8/07/2008 04:15:00 PM  
Blogger Mike Coffey said...

"Jocks have to watch themselves"

Why is the onus on them? Why can't the onus be on all of us to, as Bill S. Preston, Esquire, once said, "be excellent to each other"?

8/07/2008 04:17:00 PM  
Blogger jmendoz2 said...

I'm glad you answer that way about the Sanchez question, the general feel after the Leinart pictures was very different from what I read albeit nothing from you.

As far as the woman on the bench, yea it sucks, is it her fault I got a ticket? A resounding NO.

8/07/2008 04:19:00 PM  
Blogger Mike Coffey said...

Leinart was criticized because he was fat and getting drunk with college coeds when he was supposed to be focusing on being ready to play for the Cardinals. That's unprofessional behavior from someone who is supposed to be a pro. The situations are not analogous.

Given that you wouldn't have received a ticket if it weren't for that woman, she's at least partially to blame for the fact you got one. And even if you don't feel that way, again, what does what she does say about the woman? What if that woman was your mother or your sister or your girlfriend, and she did something like that?

8/07/2008 04:24:00 PM  
Blogger jmendoz2 said...

Unfortunately I have to finish up some work so here are my parting shots:

1) Unprofessional yes, shouldn't the cameraman help his brother out though? It would hurt his career, right? Shouldn't the guy in the bathroom stall help Larry Craig out? Yes the last one is a reach but all this is saved if you avoid putting yourself in that position.

2) I gave the woman a reason to call, had I been following the law, no matter if the woman was catty or any other adjective you would like to fill in, I ultimately gave her something, just like the players did and believe it or not, playing for ND is a kind of a big deal.

Take care everyone, Mike H. don't forget your bat and your gang this weekend when you go clubbing buddy, better regulate on the picture takers.

8/07/2008 04:31:00 PM  
Anonymous ndrobert said...

No one talks in more glowing terms of the University that you, Mike, which is why I'm surprised you're not a little more annoyed at Clausen for doing something that would cause even the slightest stir. I didn't attend ND, but ever since my childhood years growing up on Chicago's South Side, I came to love the university and its teams. In my neighborhood, that was he only school anyone cheered for for. Still, I try to be objective here and understand that while this is a non-story to an extent, you can't rip the Trib for reporting the existence of the photo. They weren't the only paper with the story. Yes, there was a day when reporters who had access to teams, who rode the trains with MLB teams, NFL teams, etc. didn't report the personal stuff. Ditto for reporters covering Hollywood, etc. We didn't know about every indiscresion and that was probably OK. However, Clausen wears the uniform of an ND football player. There's pride in that. It's more important than wearing an NFL uniform because those guys simply play for the highest bidder. But I can't understand why u don't think the onus is on Clausen. He needs to be aware of what's going on around him, like it or not. We're in an age where a photo is snapped in a second and posted to the Web the next. I knew a priest from our area...I believe you and I reside in the same town...who was always worried about where he conducted his leisure activities. He didn't want people talking about seeing hime having a drink, smoke a cigar, etc. Why? He's held to higher standard as are teachers, public officials, etc. TMZ and sites and shows like them suck and are really useless, but there's an audience for them. That won't change. Clausen lives in a fishbowl of sorts...he has to accept what goes along with being in the spotlight.

8/08/2008 12:46:00 AM  

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