An open post to Mr. Jack Towers

Mr. Towers,

Thanks for your comment concerning my use of three pairs of underwear–oops, I mean unmentionables–while on vacation in Peru. This is a personal blog with little or no audience, so I was pleased that you took the time to comment. I do have to say though, that I was slightly hurt with the tone you took. Insinuating that I don’t shower, that I’m cheap and that I’m dumb isn’t the best way to ingratiate yourself with someone you’ve never met before.

And while I might be, in your opinion, dumb about my choice of underwear unmentionables, I do have good skills of observation. For example: I did notice that you left an IP address with your comment: An IP address, Mr. Towers, in case you didn’t know, is kind of like a mailing address. It’s the address you were using to connect to the internet when you left the comment. Luckily, I’m a bit more savvy about IP addresses than my choice of skivvies. I could see, among other things, that you were writing me from somewhere in Richmond Hill using the ISP Futureway Communications, owned by Rogers.

I don’t know if you read any more posts on my blog Mr. Towers, but if you did, you would have probably figure out that I’m a PhD student at York University. I also teach courses. Indulge me a moment to tell you about my teaching–one of the courses that I teach right now has a website. It’s pretty boring and has no photographs of me cleaning underwear. Students can log-in, download lecture notes and upload assignments. You know what else the course website does Mr. Towers? I hope you’ve managed to follow my foreshadowing: it tracks IP addresses.

So here’s where it gets interesting, Jack. A student in this course, on the same day you posted your comment, accessed the course website with this IP address: You know what’s neat about it? Again, I hope you’ve followed the foreshadowing: it belongs to Futureway Communications of Richmond Hill, too!

That’s a hell of a coincidence, don’t you think?

So here’s my suggestion, Jack. I have a good idea who you are. I found the comment juvenile, but still insulting. Why don’t you come by during my course consultation hours so we can talk about this? I would like to hear how this happened. If you wrote it, an apology would be nice too. Looking forward to seeing you soon.

I’ve arrived:

Yeah, so I’ve been rated and here’s my scorecard:

Gavan Watson’s Scorecard
No. of Ratings: 1
Average Helpfulness: 5.0 Hotness Total: 0
Average Easiness: 2.0 Average Clarity: 5.0 Overall Quality: 5.0

How about that?

My feeling about is a bit mixed. While I think it’s great that students feel like they can evaluate those that evaluate them, it’s been my experience that only those at either ends of a normal curve (students that *really* like you or *really* hate you) bother posting a rating. Which means that you end up with personal attacks which may be cathartic for those posting but are pretty hurtful. I mean, just writing “elitist” doesn’t really help at all. It’s just poor feedback.

Gavan Watson – York University –