Dear Internet Trolls: I am not one of “You Bloggers”!

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troll you bloggers
Photo by Cali4Beach

Trolls Trolls Everywhere

It is one of the phrases I read all too often in message boards and in the comments section of this blog and others. These words bring shivers down my spine, not because they are an insult, but because they reduce reality to a frustratingly simplistic state. The phrase I utterly dislike is “You bloggers”. Let me tell you why.

Lets start with the reality of how these words are almost always used. Commenters often say “You bloggers killed yet another deal”, but they will never say, “You bloggers helped to create rainbows, unicorns and Lucky Charms”. Where is the positivity? I’m quite proud of my accomplishments in those areas. 🙂

Seriously though, I have written over 1,000 posts over the history of this blog. That is probably close to 1,000,000 words where my personality, knowledge and sincerity are out there for all to see. Those 1,000,000 words allow you to make a decision about this blog and who runs it. Those 1,000,000 words mean I am not one of “You bloggers”. They give me an identity.

Perhaps my dislike for the “You bloggers” phrase comes from something I used to hear on the phone all of the time at my previous job. Whenever someone of a certain generation would be upset with the company I worked for, they would say “You people” before complaining. As someone who was trying to help them, I felt that was a direct insult. I would think, “Hello? My name is Shawn. I just told you that. I am trying to help you. Why insult me?”

So now back to the infamous phrase I am ranting about. The truth is that each blog and blogger is unique. My resistance from being bunched in with everyone else doesn’t stem from a desire to think I am better than them, but instead the realization that I am unique. Not better or worse, just myself. (Or at least that is how I remember my mommy phrasing it when I was younger.)

I am going to be honest. The idea for this post came some time back when I was upset at a so called troll who used this phrase. At that time I decided not to write this post, because I felt it needed too be done at a time when I wasn’t frustrated. Frustration would lead to lack of clarity and I wanted everyone reading this to understand that your use of that phrase weakens your argument.

If I do something you don’t like, then email or comment and say that. I am accountable for what I write because I can’t hide from those 1,000,000 words and because I genuinely care about the quality of my product. As the site ages, so does the amount of content that is available to you. The minute you simplify me down to just one of “You bloggers” then your opinion no longer matters much. You have shown that you want to complain, but don’t want to know the truth and that you don’t value the site.

The world would be a terrible place if all people or all bloggers were the same. Just like within any environment, we all come from different backgrounds, experiences and all have different motivations and goals. This results in a wide variety of information targeted at a number of different demographics. I really really like it that way.

Without dragging this out any further, I just want to say Welcome to Miles to Memories. I really and truly appreciate each and every reader. Don’t believe me? I’m sure a few who have read some of my 1,000,000 words would vouch for my sincerity. So criticize me all you want, but do so within the lines of my individualism. Don’t blame me for what other bloggers do and don’t blame them for what I do. It will make the world a better place for everyone.

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  1. Shawn, keep doing what you do best! I like the content and clarity of most of your blogs and follow you regularly. You’re one of those bloggers who takes time to reply to your readers who ask for help. For that, I’m very grateful to you.

    There will always be haters who, once they discover and learn about a hot gig want to keep others out of it. Considering they didn’t discover it themselves, they criticize anyone from discussing it in public boards so they can abuse it as much as they want where they are.

  2. I like your writing style, and enjoy the content of your daily posts. Thanks Shawn for interesting and relevant posts!

  3. I believe that if you put yourself out there on a blog, you should understand that besides the adoring posts, you will also inevitably have critics (and some total nutters). That should be fair game, since you are in a public forum, unless, of course, it gets extreme like some of the situations that have happened in the past.

    Having said that, we all know that most of the”you kill deals” types are complete hypocrites who are really only looking to benefit from their “secret” knowledge. These are the overly entitled FT folk who for whatever reason believe that they are the only ones who should benefit from any knowlege. Let’s face it, not many of them expend any effort in helping their fellow FF/travel/points enthusiasts like some of the bloggers do on a day to day basis. But then, that’s how the world is.

    • I agree that they have the right to criticize and I make no effort to censor the comments. This post was more an effort to write about one of my pet peeves and to re-frame the argument a bit. I have no doubt that this post too will draw a fair share of criticism. Thanks Stephan!

    • While in general I share your sentiments, the longer I’m in this “game” the more I begin to understand the other side of the argument.

      If I spend 10 hours investing my time and money as a guinea pig into a deal due without even guaranteeing success, why should I share it with the world on a spoon fed platter for everyone else to do at a 100% success rate, investing zero time and zero money to figure out an otherwise complicated deal?

      Regardless of whether or not you agree with this, the above has a valid counter argument. The more complicated and risky the deals are, the less likely it was ever going to be found out by the masses and I therefore DO understand why some people may not make certain deals pubic.

      There’s also the scalability factor. A deal like Redbird is much more likely to sustain abuse than a deal with a local credit union with a ridiculous opportunity that would get absolutely get flagged and shut down if exposed at a rate that would kill the deal within days or weeks.

      • “If I spend 10 hours investing my time and money as a guinea pig into a deal due without even guaranteeing success, why should I share it with the world on a spoon fed platter for everyone else to do at a 100% success rate, investing zero time and zero money to figure out an otherwise complicated deal?”

        Excellent point, however, it’s largely irrelevant.

        “The bloggers” aren’t asking YOU to share YOUR discoveries, they are sharing discoveries that either A) they made themselves after putting in their own effort, or B) were already made public.

        As long as you don’t share your deal it will remain yours. Unless/until, of course, someone else discovers it as well and shares it publicly. But then that has to do with their efforts, not yours.

        • I definitely see what you’re saying, and I agree it’s up to the bloggers and it’s their time and energy and not mine and therefore in that context is irrelevant. Shawn was willing to test GCR in large part to provide value to his readers. No one has any right to ask him not to share such a deal. As you said he discovered it on his own.

          However, I’d hope people understand that many bloggers do in fact know of deals not shared, if for nothing else because they were asked to keep it unpublished. In this sense my comments ARE relevant. There’s also private forums where deals are to be kept private and therefore you’re not going to see all deals exposed to the masses.

          It also goes without saying that if deals are found on their own, which is usually the case when they’re relatively easy to decipher, no one has any business getting upset about it’s exposure. No one owns any rights to deals and their disclosure.

          My initial response was to Stephen commenting that, in regards to us non-bloggers, “not many of them expend any effort in helping their fellow FF/travel/points enthusiasts like some of the bloggers do on a day to day basis.” I did not agree with the blanket statement and pointed out that while this is true of many, it’s far from reality for the those who really do invest time and resources to scope out opportunities that are unproven and risky. So in this sense if someone invested heavily to find a deal that only Sheldon Cooper himself would find, I have no business getting upset if he doesn’t want to share it with others in the community, especially if it’s far from scalable such as the local credit union example.

  4. I think you are an honest and your blogs are informative. People like me generally don’t post much, when we should normally be acknowledging your contribution and supporting you. So here is one five stars to you from me. Keep up the good work. Like the other post said, some of the bloggers are out for themselves throwing bad but lucrative products, but your blogs are unique. Thanks.

  5. Shawn – I just discovered your blog just a few months ago, but appreciate the posts you put up each day that have directly helped me profit from gift card churning deals and others. Just want to say keep up the great work!

  6. I have just come into reading about “travel hacking” and everything that goes along with this whole hobby in the last year. I first discovered Extra Pack of Peanuts and The Points Guy and then came across the Boarding Area. I quickly stopped looking at Extra Pack of Peanuts and the Points Guy as I have found info on the Boarding Area to be much more valuable. Of all the bloggers I’ve come across on it, you and Frequent Miler are my favorites because of your sincerity and how you come across and genuinely wanting to help others! I appreciate your work and love your blog! Just wanted to send ya some positive vibes

  7. You tell ’em Shawn!

    Seriously…. How hard is it for someone to just NOT read your posts if they don’t value the content??

    I think you’re awesome, keep up the great work! Your blog is certainly valuable to me in my pursuit of adventure on a budget!

  8. Some guys/gals want a certain good deal because if benefits their personal interest (miles/points & cashback) AND they don’t want anyone else to get the same deal. Therefore they want you to stop pursuing your own interest (blogging about these deals). Not only that, but they also claim the high moral ground; they’re the good guys and “you bloggers” are the bad guys because you benefiting from your blog posts (as opposed to working for free?) is somehow worth than they benefiting from these deals.

    But it doesn’t stop there. Some of these guys (pardon the generalization) also do post false information on purpose (mostly via anonymous comments) trying to misinform and therefore scare people away from some deals and products. For instance, I provide/sell temporary activated Redbirds online and I’ve repeatedly seen such comments about Redbird, especially on MMS’s threads when MMS posted about Redbird. Now I understand someone wanting to benefit from a deal/product, I also understand their concern that if many people get in on it, it might die sooner. However, these are PUBLIC products and deals dudes/dudettes! That means no one has any more claim on them than others.

    The same thing goes for “you bloggers”. I don’t have to tell the world about deal or a product if I don’t want to, but I don’t see how that gives me pedestal to stand on and blame others who do. And yes, many bloggers do benefit financially from blogging about these deals. So? It is not a charity; it was never presented as such. Though we often do benefit for free from reading not only posts from “you bloggers” but also comments from each-other. It’s one of the basic benefits of this thing called the internet, and it is not going away anytime soon.

  9. One of the worst things about the Internet is the impact of anonymity (and how some people write things they would never say if folks knew who they were). Says the guy not using his real name! But you do, Shawn. So I say bravo. You might not get it right 100% of the time (nobody can!), but you’re authentic and you clearly have your readers’ best interests in-mind (with consistent great and varied content). That’s why many of us gravitate to your site (and, of course, some of your peers do a great job too). Keep up the good work. Enjoy your vacation, and I look forward to seeing you (and meeting some of the nicer trolls!) in Vegas on 9/19.

  10. whether you like it or not, you’re a part of the collective. it doesn’t matter if you capitalize on every particular deal, but the nature of your activities leaves little unique substance on your site
    together with the others, “you bloggers” kill lots of deals
    you’re not in it for the deals
    you’re in it for the website, for the referral bonuses, for the advertisers, for the travel perks, for the new subscriber/visitor, for the clicks
    regardless of what your mother thinks

  11. its usually not one blogger who kills a deal, it’s “you bloggers” who do it collectively.
    you’re in it for the website, for the referrals, for the advertisers, for new readers/subscribers, for the clicks
    you’re a part of the group whether you like it or not, whether you participate in every deal or not
    regardless of what your mother thinks

  12. Your unique stamp on new stories and developments is why I prefer to read your blog over many others. It’s just like watching the news or listening to the radio. There’s certain stories that you can get from more than one source, however it’s the personalities behind it and how they convey that information, backed by their own life experiences as well that provide tidbits of insight into said topic.

    There are also many instances where I find new information here that cannot be found elsewhere, so there is tremendous value here as well. The GCR thing was probably driven by a desire to create a story – and value – for us readers and I don’t doubt the fact that you very well may have passed on this experience if it weren’t for wanting to relay valuable material to your readers.

    It’s easy for me to tell you to not worry about what others say. You put so much time and effort and emotional investment into what you do that it’s hard to not take it personally sometimes. It’s a slippery slope because ironically if you never take it personal you’re probably not trying hard enough and aren’t taking pride in what you do.

    The people that post such narrow-minded, negative comments are probably unhappy people and/or have some vendetta for a negative experience and want to blame the world for it. Any attempt to explain or rationalize is wasted energy, analogous to telling a spider why you don’t want them crawling in your house at night and hoping they “get it.” You wouldn’t get mad at the spider (at least not personally) so try your best not to let these types get under your skin, because that’s what they want!

    About 10 years ago I was at a community gathering held by the Dalai Lama’s oldest brother and closest adviser and I’ll never forget what he said. A woman in the audience, visibly frustrated, explained to him that she lives in a nearby city that is known for methamphetamine use and a general negative stereotype for anyone who lives there. She continues on and tells him she doesn’t like telling people she lives there because she feels they judge her. He smiles and tells her to “treat every disadvantage as an opportunity for change.” She looked at him puzzled. He went on to explain that if people have a negative connotation towards anyone from that area, she had the ability to lead by example and change others perception of her city and community through her own actions. I also believe he was hinting at the fact that she can’t take it personally when people judge her because she has no control over what they think and therefore shouldn’t allow it to impact her negatively.

    It reminds me of you because you have the ability to continue doing what you’re doing and facilitating a positive image for both yourself AND related bloggers within our community. At the same time you aren’t responsible for what others do because you’re your own person. I know you already know this and it’s probably why you didn’t post this blog topic when you were upset, but we don’t control what others think of us so there isn’t any benefit to getting frustrated or upset. It’s something I myself work on in my personal life as well and haven’t fully mastered. I’m not sure we ever will since we are social creatures and hardwired for approval among our peers. All we can do is be aware of it and when it happens, let it go asap.

  13. So, “bloggers” are each unique personalities and individuals, but “trolls” are all the same and can be freely collectivized. Got it.

    • Fair point, however “troll” is a generic term like “blogger”. If I was writing to a specific person then it would make sense for me to address them individually. Since this was a post talking about people who leave comments and use a specific term, there is no way for me to address this singularly. In converse, when someone leaves a comment on an author’s post, they can address the blogger and not “you bloggers”.

      • Totally valid “defense”. I just always find it humorous when individuals collectivize in their demands for others to respect their individuality. 🙂

        BTW, I’m a fan of your work and don’t believe for a second that “bloggers” (collectively or individually) should be blamed for killing deals.

        Let’s say that at any given time there are 100 deals in play (a highly generous number I suspect) and 10,000 people who want to take advantage of those deals (a highly conservative number I suspect). That would mean that only 1% of people looking to get in on deals ever discovered anything unique. The other 9,900 people had to learn about it somewhere. The only way any deal would have a chance of surviving truly long term would be if the 100 all kept their mouths shut, leaving no one to complain about deals being killed.

      • You’re too nice Shawn. He doesn’t have a “fair point”. Yes, trolls can be collectively grouped into something negative, like, for example, ‘trash’ which has to be taken curbside for daily/weekly collection.

        Bloggers, on the other hand, well… there’s good ones and bad ones. Hard to collectively group them all and use one term to describe them.

  14. Ironically the average troll comes to your site to look for deals and be spoon-fed on something they didn’t take the time to write or research, but when they do they want the deals just for themselves. And if you don’t write they complain because they’re not picking up free tips. Your blog, your content. Ignore the trolls.

    • They don’t normally get to me all, I just don’t like the phrase. It was something I had been wanting to write for awhile and I thought a Saturday morning would be a good time to do it. Thanks Mike!


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