By IAN YEE
EVERY Friday, I like to take a few hours to do what we here at R.AGE call #RAGEchat, where we basically ask our followers on Twitter what they think about our stories.
After a long hard week of interviews, photoshoots, research, writing and getting screamed at for not submitting our pages earlier, it’s nice to hear what our readers have to say about some of these issues and topics we’ve been working so hard on.
Most weeks, our Tweeples give us a lot of food for thought. They tweet us new leads, different story angles, links to relevant stories and so on.
Last week, we got a death threat.
Apparently, there are fan fiction authors in Malaysia who feel that what they do should stay a secret – never mind that they publish all their stories on the Internet.
So when we published our story on this growing trend, where people write their own works of fiction based on the characters and universes of their favourite franchises (Star Wars, Twilight, Glee, etc.), we had two or three disgruntled fan fiction authors who started getting a little edgy.
It wasn’t anything serious, of course. To be honest, we’re pretty used to getting the occasional weird email from readers.
But the story was written by our 19-year-old intern. She was shocked at first, but then she just took it on the chin and laughed it off – even though one of them posted a screen cap of her Twitter profile (with her picture in it).
Now our intern interviewed four different Malaysian fanfic authors and a lawyer, and did plenty of online research. She checked fanfic forums, blogs and websites for two weeks, and there was nothing to suggest that the community was meant to be a secret.
When we initially ran our #RAGEchat in the afternoon, the response was positive as well. Other fanfic authors were tweeting us about how their hobby has improved their English and creative writing skills. On Facebook, they shared links to fanfic videos with us.
But a few hours after we wrapped up the chat, the flamers came out to play.
One posted our office address on Twitter, asking her followers to go burn it down together. And then came the big one – she wrote that our intern was now at the top of her “people I have to kill to save humanity list”.
Now I’m not trying to poke the bear or name and shame anyone here, but this is something we need to talk about. Why are young people so careless with what they say on the Internet? As far as we can tell, the threats weren’t really serious.
But the fact that they were made at all should be worrying.
And this comes just a week after Alvin Tan and Vivian Lee’s stupid stunt on Facebook. As I’m writing this, I’m following Twitter updates from journalists who are waiting to see under what laws they’ll be charged.
I guess the moral of the story this week is to think before you post. You might think it’s funny to poke fun at someone else’s religion, or to threaten to kill someone you hardly know anything about, but you don’t see Alvivi laughing now, do you? Ironically, Vivian has been trying to hide her face from our photographers… Never thought we’d see the day, huh?
What would Fergie do?
Now for some football talk. For the next few months, and perhaps the rest of David Moyes’ career, I think the most common question Manchester United fans like myself would ask is “what would Alex Ferguson do?”
The answer to that question would make the currently murky issue of Wayne Rooney’s future infinitely clearer – Ferguson would sell him. For me, there is no doubt about it.
We saw almost the exact same situation with David Beckham. During the 2001-02 season, his relationship with Ferguson had already started deteriorating, but the player was nevertheless handed a new contract as he was still considered a crucial part of the team.
The contract wouldn’t change much for Ferguson, though. In the following season, the manager started dropping Beckham in favour of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, who at the time seemed to give the team a different kind of edge. By the end of that season, Beckham was gone.
Sounds familiar? Ferguson might have convinced Rooney to sign a new contract in 2010, but perhaps that was just to keep him around long enough to serve his purpose, and put the club in the position of unwilling sellers so they can fetch a better price.
Now with Javier Hernandez and Danny Welbeck capable of bringing a younger, fresher edge to the United attack alongside Robin Van Persie, perhaps Ferguson felt it was time he let Rooney go, as he did with Beckham. Both were already agitating for new challenges, and both were no longer indispensable, despite still being very, very good.
When Ferguson publicly declared that Rooney wanted to leave at his final post-match interview, he was probably setting the wheels in motion for the player’s departure. He did add that Rooney wouldn’t be sold, but that’s what he said about Cristiano Ronaldo too.
Ferguson was the master of such games, orchestrating everything to ensure the club ultimately wins. Moyes will simply have to decide if he wants to play along.