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Yesterday’s post generated a lot of passion and heated responses (which is just fine by me!).
But I’m very proud of how most commenters explained their positions, and WHY they believed in their positions as opposed to name calling (though there was a tiny bit of that too!).
Your response to yesterday’s post fitted broadly into 3 groups:
1) You did what?
OMG! I don’t believe you mentioned those 2 words on a blog.
What were you thinking!
Delete it NOW!
Here’s a sample comment from “Delete this!“ that’s representative of this position (bolding mine):
We are talking about a person here that broke the rule everyone had not to talk about it, plain and simple!…I wish I could write the names people name this blogger (sic) so he could understand the outrage. And he is calling this outrage “I’m very lucky to have such engaged readers”
I don’t understand nor do I have much sympathy for this position.
Rudeness aside, the comments didn’t really explain why posting an already public deal was an “outrage.”
The comments refer to “rules” which I have not heard about, have not agreed to, and which are, quite frankly, reminiscent of the early internet days when information asymmetries were being broken down and the existing “rules” were being rewritten, much to the detriment of those in the “know” at the time.
I haven’t made any promises – explicit or implicit – which I’m breaking by posting this information.
If you don’t want anyone to talk about it then don’t share it with anyone or post it online.
2) A Little Discretion Please!
It is okay to have posted, but perhaps not made it so obvious and prominent.
These comments, even though they disagreed with me, took the time to explain (sometimes multiple times!) why they felt that the post was inappropriate. And I’m very grateful for that!
Here’s an excerpt from a comment by Chris whose detailed comments were very helpful and thoughtful (bolding mine):
…So in the interest of rational discourse, here’s the big problem as I see it: Yes…this info is in the public domain. But you have to be specifically looking for it. You have to go to specific web sites with specific forums and specific sub-forums to find it. However, when you put it on the front page of your blog, you are now displaying that trick for ALL of your readers to see, whether they were specifically looking for it or not…
Now, I don’t necessarily agree with this view, but I am very grateful for the thought and time which went into explaining this position.
This blog does not have the reach of the New York Times. It is targeted toward folks who are willing to invest the time and resources to use mile and points programs to their advantage.
That’s a very, very small sliver of the general population.
So I don’t feel concerned sharing information on the blog knowing that it is not going to be broadcast beyond a small group of mile and point enthusiasts.
Have you tried to convince someone, say a cousin or aunt, to start collecting miles and points? I have tried many times, but usually fail. Most regular folks just don’t have the time to do what we’re doing! So don’t worry about my posts making the front page of Digg!
FlyerTalk, Fat Wallet, and SlickDeals have huge readerships compared to Million Mile Secrets, so I don’t see how threads mentioning the same deal on other sites are okay, but mentioning it on this blog is not.
However, I do understand the concern over the explicit guides and steps which I publish. But folks are going to figure it out regardless of whether I just mention the trick by name (google is your friend) or explain it in detail. So I might as well explain it in detail!
In short, I understand your concerns about overexposure and the potential to kill a deal. But know that I will always lean towards alerting my readers towards information which is publicly available elsewhere.
On the other hand, if you share something with me confidentially, with the condition that I not blog about it (as long as it is not available publicly), I will respect your wishes. I may not use your information, but I certainly won’t blog about it, because I gave you my word.
3) It’s 2011 And It Was Already Posted On The Internet.
Posting was A-okay, since it was already discussed multiple times on other websites.
Thanks to the many readers who wrote in support of the post, explained why you felt it was okay to post, and replied to comments!
Here’s a comment representative of this view by (another) Chris (bolding mine):
Unfortunately I’m not, you’re not, Darius isn’t, nobody is the ultimate judge on the magic number of how many people should be allowed into the privileged “inner circle” of a deal or what is and what’s not a “proper” way of disseminating this info. You all have your opinion. I have mine. Others have theirs. Welcome to life. Especially to life on the internet. You really think you can police this stuff according to your personal views? Good luck with that.
I agree with this view, that in 2011, it is hard to restrict the flow of information particularly when it is already posted in multiple online forums!
When information is posted on the internet, you shouldn’t expect it to remain a secret. If you don’t want it disseminated publicly, don’t post it publicly in a searchable online forum!
Perhaps this is a generational issue, but there is an increasing trend towards “over-sharing” information.
For example, personal finance sites have detailed tables and charts of the blogger’s net worth, while my parents would never talk publicly about their finances, and certainly wouldn’t publish it on the internet!
My point is that I grew up with the internet and reaped lots of benefits because of the breakdown of information barriers.
So what is okay to share by me, may be viewed differently by others. But that’s life – we can’t always expect folks to see things our way.
However, I won’t disadvantage my readers by NOT posting information which is readily available elsewhere.
Thanks to everyone for your comments and suggestions – I really mean it!
This is one of those areas where we’re going to have to agree to disagree.
As Rick pointed out in the comments, this is a debate which has been going on for a long time, and which won’t be solved anytime soon.
Unfortunately, there are no easy black and white demarcations, so we’re all going to have to chart out our own positions.
But don’t stop telling me your thoughts and opinions, because that’s what I like the best about blogging!