Ethics and the future

Despite the fact I do not post these under a category, the “miscellaneous” posts are still rather important, as this one is. This one is about the situation I’m sure you are aware of by now regarding the WordCamp Houston recap. But it’s not about WordCamp Houston or the people behind it.

It’s about me, the reason I had to retract the original post, and unfortunately what I believe to be a rather dark moment, if not the darkest moment, of this blog. Before I get into all that I’d like to take a step back to 2009 August when I was launching this blog, and explain the role this blog, Quinn’s Big City, was to play in my personal branding strategy (and yes there was and is such a strategy).

I had planned for Quinn’s Big City to become the new flagship of my personal brand. My existing personal blog (still at the time on, now moved to Rant Roulette) was to become a secondary blog. Iced Tea and Ramen (since closed to new entries and reverted to a static site) would remain in a secondary role and be updated more often. As it happens, my promotional efforts have not succeeded to the degree I would have liked. I believe there’s still a chance to turn that around.

That conveniently feeds right into part of the reason I had planned to attend WordCamp Houston to begin with. Since there’s no real other place to put it right now, I’ll go ahead and explain it here. What I learned from the sessions I attended, combined with the sessions I was not able to view in person that I was hoping to view later on video (by the way, I’m not sure what happened to all the videos that were shot, I have yet to hear of them being posted anywhere), I would put into practice improving my blogs. Serving as a volunteer would also be something to add to my lengthy volunteer service record, though to be fair, in retrospect, I would have felt more comfortable attending on a paid ticket.

Anyway, it turns out a fair number of the sessions I would have hoped would be relevant to me, are still months away from being put into practice. Pretty much, the belated notice of WordCamp Houston was put in solely in anticipation of my recap. (Thinking back, it would have made more sense to use the occasion to debut my long-planned On The Horizon feature, or just post a recap without a corresponding LOVIEE.)

I was generous and gave latitude to the organizers or WordCamp Houston, leaving many of the readers my impression of the event was rather high. I did this in the hopes of being recognized as someone being capable of saying nice things about others. Up until then I had been recognized mainly for my insults. The problem is not that I felt uncomfortable leaving those nice things in place after my attempt to be nice was used as an excuse to stab me in the back (specifically, to exclude me from community events based on actions that were not mine, either directly or by solicitation or encouragement). Not surprisingly, the nice things I said came down, and a much more honest version came up in its place. This didn’t happen without a lot of deliberation on my part. I had a difficult decision, one I did not want to have to make, before me. But that’s not really the problem.

No, the problem is much deeper than that, and at the end of it has nothing to do with WordCamp and its organizers, and everything to me. The problem is that I failed you, my readers and my fans. In my desire to attain acceptance, I was dishonest in a recap of an event I attended, and for this I am gravely sorry. This was a huge, inexcusable mistake in ethics, and I make absolutely, positively no excuses for it. I don’t know what else I can do besides pledge not to do it again.

In light of this, you are justified in no longer reading my blogs or being my fan or my friend. For those of you who remain, these are the new guidelines I will follow for this blog:

  1. I endeavor to bring you the most timely postings and updates of the weekly and monthly LOVIEEs given my personal schedule, including other paid work. I do this as a hobby, but I don’t use the fact this is a hobby to do this sloppily. That said, changes to the venue, time, or cover charge may take place after I make a post, and I may not always be able to change them in time or even post them to Twitter or Facebook.
  2. I pledge to be honest and fair in my recaps of events, without taking into account my best interests with regard to the community’s opinion of what I say. Specifically, I will not be generous in future recaps with the hope of the community taking notice that I said nice things, as I was here. My honesty may be brutal at times, but it will never be unfair.
  3. As a corollary to the above, if I am denied entry, asked to leave an event,  or escorted off the premises of an event, this does not preclude my writing of a recap about the event. It may preclude future promotion of events by that organizer and/or at that venue as the case may be. (This has never happened, and I hope it never does. I just don’t want to get buried in comments about “why the heck did you write this recap if you got bounced?”)
  4. Most importantly, I pledge to be myself, both online and in person.

I will likely be in attendance at one of the events I have listed for this Saturday, I have not decided which one yet. I will let you guys know. Thanks for your support, and see you there.

— Shawn K. Quinn
Editor, Quinn’s Big City