Moderation is key: Being yourself, being professional, and personal attacks?


Yesterday the Libray Journal Movers & Shakers for 2012 were announced. Congratulations to them all! To be honest, it’s one of those days that comes and goes without much notice of me, but a couple of people were talking about the winners all over the Twitterverse. I happened to open the link for JP Porcaro from 8bitlibrary and @makeithappenday, and then went to the meeting and forgot about it. When I got back from my meeting people were talking about the comments on the page at Library Journal – namely, that some were moderated/censored. Since I still had the comments in question open in one of my several tabs, I took a screenshot for posterity.

The comments that were deleted refer to Porcaro as a “tool,” a drunk, and question whether or not he deserves the award. They aren’t particularly nice but they don’t seem completely out of line. I would put them in that uncomfortable grey area – somewhat unpleasant statements based upon personal observations.

Some people, such as Anna Creech and Jenica Rogers, questions Library Journal’s moderation. There was also FriendFeed discussion. This morning I checked to see how the discussion went and I found a comment that really goes out of bounds:

I applaud Milli Vanilli for going for, sort of like Porcaro would, and calling Library Journal’s own Annoyed Librarian a crackwhore, well, that made me chuckle.

Aside from Library Journal’s poor moderation which made me actually pay attention to something I’d otherwise ignore, this episode does serve as a reminder about how you behave in professional settings. The only thing I knew about Porcaro was based on stories from people who have worked with him on ALA things and his own online presence. He likes to drink, he likes to party, and he sort of reminds me of the Festrunk brother from Saturday Night Live. He’s a wild and crazy guy! It’s part of his thing, his gimmick. He describes himself as, “‘party king’ of librarianship, our own Andrew WK.” Clearly, he has a healthy ego. Porcaro may be an outlier, and he may annoy people, and that’s OK. When you make that your persona professionally, I think some criticism is to be expected and it’s OK. If he was only getting drunk or being the life of the party after meetings, after hours, and in more private venues, I would be more inclined to see people referencing that behaviour on the Library Journal site as more of a personal attack. Since they are just commenting on the persona that Porcaro has marketed and used to gain notoriety, then it’s fair game. (As an aside, is a dance party at ALA really all that revolutionary? SLA has had several dance parties at their annual meetings for decades. Yet another reason I love SLA…)

Library Journal, party foul. You picked a Mover & Shaker who’s like marmite or Heino – people love him or hate him. That’s cool. Don’t get mad though when people question it and as long as nobody said he was a crackwhore with STDs, deleting the comments only draws more attention to them. To all you professionals out there, just remember about the image you’re projecting. If you want to be a bit irreverent you might have to take some lumps. I’m sick and tired of rolling my eyes at hipster librarian jokes, even though I’m not really a hipster, but as long as I keep talking about obscure bands and buying lots of vinyl, I’m sort of asking for it. (On that note, seriously JP – all of your cultural allusions are so played out. They’re too MTV and not really alterna-anything.) All’s fair on the internet.

5 thoughts on “Moderation is key: Being yourself, being professional, and personal attacks?

  1. Interesting stuff. I hadn’t been tracking on any of the comments.

    JP is JP. He’s probably the first person to shake your hand if you call him a doucheweasel and offer you +3 for creativity. I’ve probably told him he annoys me at every occasion I’ve had to share breathing space with him. In fairness, everyone annoys me, frequently. I’m just cranky that way. Also, I like Marmite!

    I have no issues with people outing him for being a douchey drunk – you are what you project. It’s the part where we question the award process that bugs me. To a certain extent, with a few notable exceptions, all of our awarded accomplishments can be met with a raised eyebrow. I myself am struggling with the sense that I somehow bamboozled people into giving me an award for… giving a damn and doing my job.

    So, if we want to rehash the ZOMG WHY DID LJ PICK THEM then let’s totally go there…. but let’s go there the whole way.

    Also, by way of postscript, I should mention I’m bunking in a house with the “douchey drunk” for Anaheim – so clearly I find some merit to #partyhard and #makeithappen as on-the-fly frameworks go…

    Good thoughts, thanks.

  2. Thanks for the comment!

    I really don’t want to touch the “ZOMG WHY DID LJ PICK THEM” thing with a barge pole. Seriously, from what I know of JP he’s making waves and that seems to be what the award is about. I would totally party with him if our paths crossed. To me, that’s not the issue.

    Library Journal screwed up in moderation. If people clutch their pearls because they can’t handle a persona like JP, that’s their problem but they should be able to say so.

    I guess it’s a friendly reminder that people do pay attention to how you act, but also sometimes people need to lighten up and shrug stuff off. We can’t all be dour, boring sods like Gordon Brown.

  3. Seriously though, while I am not going to post anything inflammatory about JP Porcaro (whose real name is JAMES PATRICE, by the way), I completely disagree with the removal of those comments posted by Anna, Jenica, and Lauren. If we can’t all be adults about this, then why are we even here? Regardless, after seeing all of this injustice by LJ, I have uploaded FOOTAGE of exactly what those three commenters were talking about when they made those comments about JP Porcaro. Hopefully, in the future, these kinds of things will be more prevalent when LJ decides to make these types of choices.

  4. My knowledge of JP is limited to this: I randomly began following him on Twitter awhile back (along with about a billion other fellow librarians), he alternately makes me laugh and cock my head in confusion, and today I found a link to this article in his Twitter header.

    That said, DAMN there’s a lot of pearl-clutching going on. He may very well be a drunk idea thief; I have no idea. And yes, he does give off the douchecanoe scent about a mile away – and yes, he knows it. It’s his schtick. It’s his thing. Big damn deal. Frankly, I’m just happy to see a librarian “moving and shaking” down a path far-removed from the stuffy-look-down-your-nose-pearl-clutching-shusher versus hipster-cateye-glasses-wearing-vinyl-toting librarian.

    Under normal circumstances, I’d say: “JP – dude – it’s cool. Haters gonna hate. Keep on keeping on. Etc.” But I don’t need to, and neither do any of you, because I have a feeling JP is much like honey badger. And you know what honey badger don’t do.

    PS – Library Journal: Seriously? With the moderation and the deletion and the censorship and the stuff? Time to get over yourself and remember why you’re still published.

  5. Also I got worked up and forgot to mention – I know this isn’t a new issue. It just set me right off and I couldn’t hold back 😉

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