From: Brian Fioca <email@example.com> Subject: zapd tweets Date: Thu, 3 Oct 2013 10:31:52 -0700 To: firstname.lastname@example.org Hey Jason, I found your email from your website ascii.textfiles.com. Killer site, actually. My home office is full of old commodore 64 and apple IIgs stuff and I've been a huge text-adventure game nerd for basically my whole life. Hey so about those tweets - you're totally right, zapd was a bit of a cluster. The thing is, the only fair person to blame would be the board and @curiousoffice - the rest of the folks you included there were collateral damage, especially @thesubercraft and @_gdonnelly who were really just underpaid interns. I left in the beginning of the year when it looked like things were going to go south and there was nothing I could do to change anyone's mind, and most of the rest of everyone else followed suit if they could, were let go for no reason, or were basically stuck there until the end. So yeah, that tweet brought back some tough memories for some of us. It'd be cool if maybe you could remove the names of some of the more innocent parties? I don't care about me, frankly, but I know at least a couple of those people are trying to recover from that little bit of a career dead end. Thanks for reading. -B
So, here's the fundamental problem with this letter and letters of this sort. It comes from someone whose face was still on the about page for zapd.com at the time of the writing, who gave it a weight of credence and meaning. People were posting, and continued to post up to shutdown, on the ZAPD website, putting up one of a kind photographs and images, thinking they were pushing things into a functioning, actual company. As is now obvious, they are not - with a scant 7 days notice, most people (depending on which e-mail they had notifications sent, who might not remember the name ZAPD as being related to their photo blog, and which might have them in spam) will get a wakeup call that their shit is gone, gone gone. There were over 100,000 accounts found by Archive Team during the scoping process against the site - that's a significant town's worth of population, all their memories wiped away.
What's offensive is to turn this into a situation of helping two poor, sad interns, and lay blame elsewhere. Once you're called out, shift it to the people who are easy to call out as douchenozzles - the founder, the board. But taking on the trust of your users means fighting for them when it's needed. Maybe that's a little hard to do when you're looking for your next big opportune time to find a flip-ready VerbNoun cybercompany, but it's the right thing to do.
The smiling faces of the about page were lies, designed to make you think human beings were behind the screen. Lack of updates as to the company situation since April of 2013 and scant information from twitter and blog feeds related to the site make sense in retrospect. They were there to inform decent people of the status of their data. It failed by all accounts.
And that's why, regardless of calls of "troll" and "zealot", this sort of asshattery needs to be pointed out.
Thanks for reading. -J