Dan Slott, writer of the Superior Spider-Man and the upcoming Amazing Spider-Man, recently posted this comment on TwitLonger
Dan Slott has often gone after "anonymous" posters, those choosing to use "fake names" to present their opinions and positions. The problem I have with this attitude is that it is a fake argument.
Now, have there been people out there who have used their anonymity to make rude and spiteful comments towards others? Yes, absolutely. There was a poster a few years ago who often used multiple accounts to make exceptionally hateful comments towards women. And that's just one example. Those that make those type of hurtful statements do revel in causing as much havoc as they can to as many different parties as they can.
The problem with Dan Slott's definition of "rude." To him, being "rude" includes not praising the work on his books. To him, being "rude" is disagreeing with him on a topic. To him, being "rude" is holding a different opinion than him on a particular franchise, regardless of your arguments or history. He paints a large group of fans with the same wide brush, all of whom are "rude." Or who lack courage, conviction and the bravery to stand by their words with their real names instead of "Fake Internet Names."
Except Dan Slott doesn't really apply this criticism fairly. If you criticize him, then you should have to back it up by using your real name. Stand by your position. Back up your claim with your real identity, not an internet pseudonym. But if you praise him? Well, you don't have to cough up your real name. Your courage and conviction aren't questioned. You are an anonymous do-gooder. Someone spreading good will and cheer. And if you're his attack dog? Criticizing others with the same rudeness and spiteful hate that Slott himself criticizes in others? Well, then he turns a blind eye and conveniently ignores them. The only people with "Fake Names" he is concerned with are of his critics. Those are the only people who have to step up with their real names, to back up their claims.
Dan Slott doesn't seem all that concerned about "Fake Names" in general. He seems more interesting finding something to criticize about the person he is disagreeing with. It's about changing the topic, not from what the person is saying but trying to make it about the person making the statement. They should use their real name when talking about who would win in a a fight- Darth Vader or Kahn Noonien Signh. Or talking about what they feel is the best for Spider-Man or Batman or Superman. Because if they did feel strongly about their position, they'd use their real names. In one move, the person goes from simple poster to absolute monster, who now has to defend their own morality because they "dared" to use the name Zoidberg223 rather than their real name of Tom Johnson.
Unfortunately, it doesn't matter if someone uses their real name or not to Dan Slott. He doesn't treat those that use their real names when criticizing him any better than those who use fake names. If you criticize him and he knows your real name, for whatever reason, he'll treat you as bad if not worse than before. Like he's found out a great secret, some hidden conspiracy, that's he's all to happy to share. As if speaking a person's real name takes away their power, or will banish them like Rumpelstiltskin. And if it isn't the about the "Fake Name," he'll come up with some other reason to criticize them. They're "arguing behind a smoke screen," or have "secret agendas." Or complain that if they disliked his story, they must dislike an earlier story that did something similar. Or they are simply "Crazy Internet People." You could refrain from using any negative terms, only talk about the comic and back up every argument you make with facts, figures and evidence that gives your arguments more salience. It doesn't matter. If you disagree with him, you're just a "Crazy Internet Person." The "Fake Internet Name" complaint is a fake argument, since it's not about the "Fake Names." It's about finding something wrong with the person who is making it, and the name they use is the simplest and easiest way to do so.
Dan Slott is not owed or entitled to anyone's real name. No one is. He does not get to set the tone or conditions of the argument. We do not conform to his standards, or have to adjust our statements for concern he might be listening in. The internet is not his domain, and it is not by his rules that we have to obey. Everyone has the privilege of being able to express their opinions in an open forum without fear of reprisal. Especially if this forum is dedicated to talking about things like Superman, Batman, the Avengers, Doctor Who, Star Wars or even Spider-Man. These are meant to be fun topics, topics to help people pass the time. To discuss things with like minded fans. Yes, we run the risk of dealing with someone who disagrees with us. But simple disagreement does not make one a bad person. Yes, we run the risk of dealing with those who take pleasure in spreading misery. But that is kind of a small price to pay to be able to express oneself freely. And just because someone has a different opinion than you, or does not praise your work, does not mean they are a mean, spiteful, hateful, miserly person bent on destroying everything you hold dear. It just means their positions differ from yours. You may come to an accord on other issues. The focus shouldn't be on trying to find out the best way to undermine those that disagree with you, but to find some common ground of appeal.
Has Dan Slott dealt with probably his fair share of negative comments online? Sure. But he's also dealt out his fair share. Have people gone over the top with their criticisms? Absolutely. Disagreeing with a story is one thing. Death threats are another entirely, and shouldn't be condoned. But I do remember that Dan Slott did brag about the story that caused those threats, and how he would have to "hide in a bunker for a while." So he knew the story was going to cause concern. And he isn't above actively aggravating people and even promoting that his stories will make people mad. It's a little hypocritical to brag about making people angry, and then gets upset when one has to deal with the fallout. I have little sympathy for a person who throws rocks at a hornets nest, and then is surprised when they get stung.
At the end of the day, if Dan Slott does not want to deal with comments that disagree with him, then he shouldn't seek them out. If he doesn't want to deal with negative fan reaction, then don't write controversial stories. And if you only want to hear that which only reinforces your worldview, then don't submit your product for public consumption. This is not, and has never been about "Fake Names." This is just about finding ways to discredit and diminish critics, and shift the conversation away from what is being said to who is saying it. If you can't deal with criticism, then that's your own problem. The complaint about "Fake Names" is a fake argument. And it needs to stop.