Friday, May 29, 2009
What's Up With Ferarro & Paladin Schmaladin?
I have to take a quick time-out from the norm to outline a concern that I have about the honesty of blogging and bloggers. For those of you who normally read blogs, it may impact you on some level, so it won't be a complete waste of your time.
If you found yourself over at fellow WoW-blogger Ferarro's website today, Paladin Schmaladin, you were greeted with a new message that the "blog is open to invited readers only." According to her Twitter updates, she believes that she has a stalker, and things are getting a bit too uncomfortable with all of the private information she has been posting.
Now let me be serious for a second (it's all I can muster): if she does have a legit stalker, she made the right decision in closing shop. Playing it safe is the only way to go in that scenario. There is nothing worse than feeling exposed, after all (we Warlocks know that all too well). However, I am getting reports that the stalker story is about as straight as Tom Cruise, and that I should have listened to my mother when she told me to never believe everything I read on the internet... that I don't write myself.
According to multiple sources in-WoW and out, Ferarro was outed as a fraud when an astute Warlock posted a convincing link on the WoW Forums, pointing to a website called TechDarling. All over the site are pictures of a girl that we know as Ferarro. In fact, many of the pictures there are identical copies of those we've seen on Paladin Schmaladin. But instead of the WoW game-tester we all know, we see a real-life social-blogger who is into the tech scene and has posted pictures from various blogging expos and web design events -- pictures stolen by and featured on Paladin Schmaladin and that Ferarro presented as of herself, and her job as a game-tester for WoW.
Doing a little bit of digging, it seems that all of the self-portraits posted of Ferarro on Paladin Schmaladin originate from TechDarling and its author's own web pages, including Facebook and Flickr. In fact, there are many images there that authenticate TechDarling as the legitimate source and owner of the pictures and events. Oh, and btw, WoW is never mentioned on these other sites. Not once.
So what does all of this craziness mean, exactly?
Well, for starters, a bunch of love-struck boys are going to experience some heavy frustration when this comes to light, and we are bound to see some nerd rage soon. For bloggers like me, it is a little disheartening. Ferarro has basically been lying about her identity for years, and stealing someone else's content and posting them as her own. She has taken advantage of another blogger and her reader's trust, and that makes my job as a fellow blogger just that much harder.
On a WoW-related front, this mess also means that Ferarro isn't a game tester for Blizzard. The "game-testing" images that were posted on Paladin Schmaladin were relabeled TechDarling images that were taken at a blogging expo.
I gotta admit, just thinking about this gets me a little angry, and my mind is going crazy with a series of difficult questions: what drives a person to do this kind of thing? Why would anyone lead people on like that? And for what means? And do you know what the worst part about this whole thing is? Paladin Schmaladin was a great resource and excellent WoW blog. Why it needed to be masked by someone else's pretty face is straight attention-whoring.
And here's a piece of advice from your friendly neighborhood Warlock Therapist: if you post someone else's picture and get caught, don't take down your blog and try to explain it away as a problem with a stalker. Don't go into hiding and conjure up 7 different identities when that doesn't work either. Fess up, make things right, and move on. It may hurt at first, but it is the only way to help guarantee yourself respect and friendship in the long-run. And lets face it, you owe at least that much to your readers, right?
It will be quite interesting to see where Ferarro goes from here. While watching the changing status of Paladin Schmaladin's accessibility, I wish her, or him, some much-needed sanity.
I am Jagoex. I'm a husband, a father, a professor, and a warlock. That's all you need to know. ;)
UPDATE: Apparently, Ferarro has closed her Twitter account and many of her articles at Retpaladin.com are MIA. Threads started on the WoW Forums linking to TechDarling or this post are being reported as harassment and immediately removed. Also, many young boys are in complete denial.
UPDATE 2: TechDarling is aware of what is going on and according to her Twitter page, she was unaware anyone was stealing her images and content and using them as her own.
UPDATE 3: Retpaladin.com admins played no hand in the posts that were being deleted on their website, and were clueless on what was going on until after the fact. Also, Ferarro's character on Alexstrasza is no longer showing up on the Armory.
UPDATE 4: Paladin Schmaladin is available for viewing once again, with a long explanation of what has happened -- including a creative story detailing 7 different owners of "Ferarro" the Paladin.
UPDATE 5: WoW.com just posted a very detailed look into Ferarro's explanatory post, basically debunking her statement that Ferarro was operated by 7 different people over the years.