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Life is better than wasting the next two weeks arguing about Drew Lock and Geno Smith
Seaside Joe 1271, 8/28/22: Don't fall for traps that are begging Seahawks fans to get caught in during these tumultuous times
One of the most common ways that a writer will manipulate their readers into ignoring valid criticisms of them and their work is to tell their audience, “Ignore the troll.” Seaside Joe has often brought up questionable reports in the past from people like Jordan Schultz or Josina Anderson, or mentioned that some content creators will collect thousands of dollars from their fans without creating any content, and the most common way to combat those criticisms is to say “That’s just trolling by the haters.”
But I’ve never trolled anybody.
Constructive criticism or valid concerns regarding the truthfulness of reporters is no more trolling than it would be if I gave a team an “F” for a draft grade or wrote that a player should be benched for poor performance.
If you hate a movie and express your disdain for it, is that trolling? If you unfollow somebody on Twitter because you’ve tired of their act, is that a troll? If you find a hair in your food at a restaurant and tell the server about it and they say, “Shutup and eat your hairpie” and then you give a one-star review on Yelp, are you a concerned customer or just another hatin’ ass troll?
People have become so conditioned to this word—troll—that it has lost its original intended meaning and instead is tossed around like a catch-all for fighting off anything that could resemble criticism because God forbid anyone faces their flaws. So what is “trolling” really?
This tweet by Cardinals blogger Johnny Venerable could be an example of trolling Seahawks fans, but it’s not entirely clear:
It could also be Venerable’s legit opinion, which is different than trolling, even if he is insanely misguided if he truly believes it. And everyone has the right, I guess, to be insanely misguided.
To be considered trolling, Venerable would have to be a little more dishonest with his words. To be a troll, Venerable would have had to send that tweet hoping that Seahawks fans would become enraged, reply to him, retweet him, and to essentially start wasting the time of anyone who feels the need to defend Seattle in this case. Urban Dictionary’s definition of Trolling is mostly spot on:
Trolling – (verb), as it relates to internet, is the deliberate act, (by a Troll – noun or adjective), of making random unsolicited and/or controversial comments on various internet forums with the intent to provoke an emotional knee jerk reaction from unsuspecting readers to engage in a fight or argument
If Josina Anderson tweets out 100 rumors and 95 of them are proven to be false, or Tony Pauline says that he has talked to his “insiders” and that Draft move X, Y, and Z is all-but-guaranteed and then they don’t happen and I write about how these rumors never turn out to be true, I’m not trolling anyone. I’m bringing up my concerns—concerns that do impact Seattle Seahawks fans, which is why I cover “the media” sometimes at Seaside Joe—and I welcome the same criticisms of my own work. Certainly I am on an infinite learning curve as a writer.
But if Pat McAfee asks Anderson or Schultz about these criticisms, the tone is “How do you deal with the trolls and block out the haters?” The question is never, “How do you come up with misleading reports when its a slow news day and you haven’t gone viral in 36 hours?” Which, by the way, would be one of the most fascinating interview questions and answers of all-time if it actually ever happened. I would respect Jordan Schultz so much more if he wrote a book called, “How I Lied My Ass Off For 120,000 Followers.”
If I were to troll anybody, then I would be: intentionally wasting their time by creating a message that I knew was disingenuous and without any value other than making their day 2-percent worse.
That is trolling and I have never “trolled” anyone. I am sorry if you do not like it when someone points out that your draft reports are consistently terrible, that your rumors are consistently proven false, or that your work ethic doesn’t line up with the promises you made to your Seahawks-adoring fans. But it would only be trolling if I was making these things up and I’m not making things up.
In fact, it’s the people who are making things up who are trolling their own audiences of tens of thousands of fans and blocking out anything that could be construed as fair criticism. Otherwise instead of addressing “the haters” they could address the criticisms, which they never do.
So is Johnny Venerable trolling people or sharing a genuine opinion when he tweeted that the trade return for Russell Wilson is “amongst the worst in NFL history” based in part on Drew Lock’s inability to start in Week 1 against his former team?
I would assume that he actually believes it. The fact that the tweet generated a lot of collectively wasted time by Seahawks fans is almost more of an unintentional “trolling byproduct” but his opinion happens to be genuine, almost certainly heightened by the fact that Venerable is a Cardinals fan who presumably has no love lost for Seattle.
It’s also genuinely a horribly misguided and incorrect opinion, but to start arguing against it would create the very time-wasting content that a troll wants to incite by being so hyperbolic.
Now, if this tweet was sent by John Schneider, that would be meaningful and require a response. The fact that a Cardinals writer feels that the Seahawks got ripped off in the trade is not something to react to, at least not anymore than you would react to a tweet by a Cardinals fan if Geno Smith threw an interception to Budda Baker in Arizona; that’s just the expected reaction and there’s nothing unusual about it.
If you get trolled by someone generally in your circles, so be it. If you get trolled by your enemies, you’ve let the Trojan Horse into your backyard; don’t open that gate.
And don’t waste your time arguing the merits of one bad quarterback against another.
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I over-use the term “relatively” in part, maybe, because of how scared people have become of critical words. If I say that Geno Smith or Drew Lock are “bad quarterbacks,” this can be misconstrued as me saying that neither Seahawks QB has any merit, value, or worth in this world. That they are as meaningless in the universe as the numbers 41 and 43…Oh how close you were to being 42!
But all I’m saying when I write that Smith or Lock are bad is that they are “relatively bad” to the other starting quarterbacks and this is something we all know. Some just have a difficult time getting out critical words…that’s fine, I’ll do it so you don’t have to.
For 10 years, the Seahawks had Russell Wilson at quarterback. For most of those 10 years, Seahawks fans could say that Seattle’s quarterback was “great!” and that’s great! There was never any pushback during that time from Seahawks fans when I argued that Jared Goff, Colin Kaepernick, Kevin Kolb, John Skelton, or Jimmy Garoppolo were different variations of the word “bad”. To argue that the NFL had five, six, or a dozen bad quarterbacks was completely fine, normal, and expected.
If Wilson, Aaron Rodgers, Patrick Mahomes, and Tom Brady are great, then we know that there’s a scale and that out of 32 starters, they were near the top. Somebody has to be in the middle. Somebody has to be at the bottom.
Relatively, in the first year post-Wilson, Seattle’s two options at quarterback are at the bottom.
That’s okay. We’ve known this to be the case for almost six months now.
We still have more than two weeks until the Seahawks face the Broncos in Week 1 and what I heard from Pete Carroll after Friday’s game was that Smith “is going to start in Week 1.” That’s what I heard, that’s what he said. It tells me that as genuinely frustrating as the competition between Smith and Lock has been for the last month, it isn’t over until one of them ends it—for good reasons or for bad.
It isn’t over yet.
Dissatisfied with the answer that Smith will start in Week 1, many fans have turned to talking about Jimmy Garoppolo, an endeavor that I would not recommend until Pete and John force you to do so with action. I assure you that you will have no control over what the Seahawks will do at quarterback over the next five months—that should be even more obvious after the underwhelmed response that Pete got after naming Smith as the starter—and you’ll only be adding more stress to your life by fantasizing about other options besides the two who remain in place on the roster.
If it happens, it happens. I sure hope it doesn’t happen. In many ways, the Seahawks are the same non-contender they were prior to trading Wilson, the same non-contender they were after trading Wilson, the same non-contender they were after making a lot of really positive and commendable moves in free agency and the draft, and the same non-contender they were through a quarterback competition that was destined to deliver disappointing results.
Let’s not lose sight of not-contending just because of the bad feelings you got from the seemingly inevitable decision to name Smith as a starting quarterback. Let’s not turn on each other over two quarterbacks who would be backups on any other roster. Let’s not waste time over “What could be” and “What might have been.”
If we do that…then maybe Pete Carroll really would be trolling us.