The Community of Disc Golfers and About All Things Disc Golf

This is an opportunity to openly talk about my blogs. Say whatever you want, it might get deleted later but not til it's been well read. No swearing, or it's out as per rules of the site. I can take it. Like it or not, tell me. Agree or not, tell me. Don't hide behind a screen like the guy in chat on Memorial Day, that's too childish here is his chance to say who he is.
Understand they are my opinion, not facts, from one round at one time on the course. I have higher than normal standards and things I personally like or do not like. As we all do, common sense.

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Comment by Rizbee on May 28, 2008 at 4:33pm
That was my impression.
Comment by Terry "the Pirate" Calhoun on May 28, 2008 at 3:32pm
Folks, especially B-Dog, I recommend re-reading all of Ben's posts in one fell swoop - like I just did. It kinda puts it all in perspective and shows the learning curve. He's past the kind of comments that riled a handful of people up back when he was in PA. One or two offended people - at least one of whom had a previous beef with me that he's projecting onto Ben - will never get it. But Ben has.
Comment by Rizbee on May 27, 2008 at 10:50pm
Actually, B-Dog makes some good points as far as presentation of the information. I don't think I agree about the proportion of Ben's comments that have been negative or unproductive, but I think he has presented some good points about how to best relay information about the courses Ben is playing so as to maximize everyone's enjoyment. I think telling us about bad courses is a must and a valuable part of the blog, but I would also shy away from the words "suck" or "stupid", but that's just my style.

What I really appreciate about B-Dog's comments is that he presented his views in the same type of critical but productive manner he is asking Ben to embrace. Thanks for that.

Actually, I think the blog has followed these reccomendations over the past few weeks, so I think Ben is on the right track. Ben, you have 47 or 48 more weeks to go. Don't whitewash it, but imagine yourself on the receiving end before you hit "Post". Keep up the good work (and fun).
Comment by beatz on May 27, 2008 at 10:10pm
here we go again!!!!
Comment by B-Dog on May 27, 2008 at 9:29pm
Ben, you are in the enviable position of living every disc golfer's dream. You have no responsibilities and the money and freedom to tour around this great country of ours, playing our fine disc golf courses. On top of that, you are blogging about your trip and providing daily updates of your experiences. It is intriguing to see the places you've been and the amazing courses you've played, and we are all living vicariously through you.

You have the opportunity to be an ambassador of our sport. You have the opportunity to bring greater public awareness of our wonderful sport. You have the opportunity to spread a message of peace, fellowship, and love for the sport of disc golf to every course you play and every disc golfer you meet. You have the opportunity to be remembered favorably as the guy who traveled around the country in 2008 and played hundreds of disc golf courses and wrote daily blogs about it.

However, in the first few weeks of your travels, you left a trail of hurt feelings behind you. You have chosen to bash the designs and designers of the courses you didn't like. Instead of taking the opportunity to use tact, be respectful, and present helpful constructive criticism, you wrote things like "this hole sucked" and "this hole was stupid" and "this course sucked" and "who lets these people designed courses?" which came off as immature. When a 11-yr. old kid doesn't like something, he says that it's stupid or that it sucks, without giving detailed reasons why he feels that way. He doesn't know any better. As an adult in your early 20s, you should really know better.

Course designers and disc golfers are immensely proud of their local courses. Whether these locals participated in the construction of them or not, they are the courses they play the most and they identify with them. More often than not, these course designs were the best possible ones with the land made available to them. More often than not, these people are well aware of existing design flaws, rough conditions, etc. They don't need to hear it from an outsider who flies in, plays their course once, and then presents what he thinks is a fully informed evaluation of the course, but in a curt manner. A lot of these courses look vastly different from one week to the next - some of the courses you visited might have been mowed the very next day after you played them.

No one is asking you to lie, and say nice things about a course design you really didn't like. No one is telling you that you don't have the freedom to express your opinions. You keep reacting defensively to those who criticize your blog. All these folks are trying to point out is that there is a right way and a wrong way to present your thoughts, and so far many times you have chosen the wrong way. You say that you are critical of your own course and your own local courses, but that doesn't mean that it's the right way to be.

The right way would be to imagine that you were presenting feedback in person to the course designer himself at the conclusion of the round. To his face, would you just tell him his course sucked? Hardly. Instead, in as nice as a manner possible, you'd present specific reasons why you didn't like a certain hole or stretch of holes. From your years of course design and history of courses played, you'd suggest alternatives. You'd discuss different tee or pin placements. You'd talk about appropriate fairway width. You'd probably discuss a vast variety of course design issues, and probably spend a good amount of time doing so because you'd be careful not to insult the person to his face.

That is what is lacking. Perhaps due to the rigors of your trip, you don't have the time or patience to present this kind of detail, and you come off sounding like you do. Unless you're willing to have the patience and put in the time to present your commentary in a constructive and respectful manner, you're only going to continue to encounter the negative reactions you're getting. This is just the way it is online. Because of the limits of the internet and the written word, you need to be twice as nice online as you are in person. (sound familiar?)

Perhaps it is time to ask yourself whether having the patience and taking the time to present this negative commentary is necessary. What good is the negativity accomplishing? Do you really think that a great many others will read your blog and use it as a guide as to which courses to go play and which ones to avoid? Months from now, will people be digging back through your blog posts to find these "reviews" of yours? Doesn't the risk of greatly offending many others in the meantime outweigh all that?

Why not try a different approach. Why not just write MORE about the courses you liked? Why not go into more detail about the great courses you play each day, and why they were so good? Instead of dwelling on the courses you didn't like, why not focus on the positive? If you didn't like a course, isn't just so much easier not to say anything at all about it? Think how easy that would be. Sometime you can really say EVERYTHING about a course by not saying anything at all about it.

Ben, you are at a crossroads. Disc golf is very small world and the reputation you establish for yourself now will be one you will always live with. You will meet the course designers and local disc golfers you offend years from now and they will remember you for it. Why not take the high road and be a positive ambassador for our sport? Why not dwell on the positive? Why not be remembered favorably as the guy who traveled around the country in 2008 and played hundreds of disc golf courses and wrote glowing daily blogs about the courses he played?

The choice is yours.
Comment by Rizbee on May 27, 2008 at 8:42pm
I have enjoyed your blogs for what they are: your opinions and observations about what you have experienced on your trip. Not everyone will be happy with your opinions, but too bad. They can always reply with rebuttals without getting personal. Keep it up!!
Comment by Ben Calhoun on May 27, 2008 at 8:07pm
Jeeze "MikeH" look at all these angry people who don't like to be told the truth and think I'm full of it..*rolls eyes*
Comment by Eirik on May 27, 2008 at 7:54pm
Well it seems as though some people don't have the maturity to step up and defend their actions, that is not a quality in human beings that I consider admirable, Speak your mind and stand behind it or admit you were wrong.... accountability.. self respect and dignity; all of those things lacking they are.
Comment by Cody Weber on May 27, 2008 at 7:50pm
Ben- I can't wait to see what courses you playin South Dakota, and what your reviews say. I hope its my home course so I can be as angry as that guy was last night.
Comment by Terry "the Pirate" Calhoun on May 27, 2008 at 4:05pm
Geez, I surely missed some good action last night.

Because of the vandalism to the live chat that can happen when anyone can join it, I have put in place a different chat that requires you to be a member of the network to engage. It's not as much fun, I know, but we just can't have people using foul language in such a public place with with minors present.

Just think of last night's anonymous poster as one of those kids who breaks up tee signs or tears down bushes and saplings on a course - having fun by poisoning or destroying something that we all have fun using. And then be very glad you don't have to live inside that kind of person's head.

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