Why my critics get the silent treatment (and why that’s good for you)


People take swipes at me all the time.

The attacks range from mildly critical (like questioning my “insider” knowledge of a particular industry) to deeply personal (insulting my kids or cats). But the expectation is almost always the same: they want me to retaliate.

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by Generali Global Assistance. Generali Global Assistance has been a leading provider of travel insurance and other assistance services for more than 25 years. We offer a full suite of innovative, vertically integrated travel insurance and emergency services. Generali Global Assistance is part of The Europ Assistance (EA) Group, who pioneered the travel assistance industry in 1963 and continues to be the leader in providing real-time assistance anywhere in the world, delivering on our motto – You Live, We Care.

They want a fight.

I got one just the other day from an anonymous reader who claimed I’d committed various ethical lapses because I travel with my family. It’s an accusation made by an unknown person that’s unsupportable. It deserved no answer.

So what happens when I give them the silent treatment? Often, they’ll redouble their efforts, underscoring rhetorical assaults on various social media platforms or with letters to my editors. They link to my website. They call me out on Twitter. They tag me on Facebook.

But my public response is the same, and it will always be the same: nothing.

That’s not about to change. I have a firm policy of staying quiet. Still, I thought it might be interesting to talk about the various kinds of attacks I see week after week, the reasons why I don’t react, and what it means for you.

1. You’re no expert.

This is the most common criticism. It usually starts with a polite response to one of my stories by a lesser-known blogger. But then it devolves into a post openly inviting commenters to ridicule me and belittle the work I do on behalf of consumers.

Taken alone, these critiques are occasionally valid. It’s true that I’m no industry expert, nor do I aspire to be one. My specialty is advocating for consumers, not understanding the intricacies of, say, yield management systems or airline codesharing agreements.

But to return fire would be pointless. If you read the critical post in the context of the entire blog, then two things become clear. First, there’s zero interest in a constructive dialogue with anyone who represents the consumer. And second, the self-appointed critics who write such things believe knocking a media personality down a notch or two in a public forum would elevate their status.

No, thanks.

2. I love you/I hate you.

This relatively new rhetorical offensive starts in a similarly benign way. It suggests the author is about to give me his or her full-throated endorsement, sometimes even leading with a headline like, “Chris got it right!”

But two or three paragraphs into the post, it turns into a takedown. They use silly phrases like, “Even a stopped clock gives the right time twice a day.” No, on second thought they won’t be saying nice things about me after all.

Again, one or two of the points they make are valid. I’m not a travel agent, obviously. I don’t spend my days poring over loyalty program agreements or digging up the very best affinity cards that will pay me a generous referral fee.

I advocate for customers. Full stop.

So why don’t I fight back? To understand the reason, you have to look at these criticisms in context. Consider the reader comments generated by the attack. Is this the start of a productive discussion, or are they just piling on with ridiculous comments like, “This is just another nail in Chris’ coffin”?

Whose cause are these critics really helping?

The answer is clear: they’re usually not interested in consumers, but in a very small subset of elite-level customers and industry “hackers.” They are building themselves up by tearing someone else down. To answer would be to feed their morally questionable ambitions.

Their goals would be far better served by taking issue with some of the ideas I write about. I suspect that may be difficult, since I advocate for fair and equal treatment of all, not just the people with platinum cards. I haven’t heard a persuasive argument against that yet, and I suspect there is none.

3. The full frontal assault.

Now this is the kind of attack I almost prefer. It’s usually generated through social media and most commonly on Twitter. There’s the call out to @elliottdotorg along with an epithet, referring to me as an “idiot” or worse. Can’t publish many of the names I’ve been called.

Comments like those are normally an angry reaction to an article I’ve written. Maybe I’ve suggested that the class system used by airlines is unfair or that the government should be regulating a particular industry. Or perhaps I’ve leveled some criticism at a beloved cruise line for allegedly mistreating its customers.

So, I’m an “idiot.” Now what?

Well, here’s what happens. First, I unfriend and block the person. Then I add the name to my infamous blacklist, ensuring the critic will never be mentioned in one of my stories again. I’ve got quite a list going.

Bottom line? No one is perfect. Often, I advocate for a deserving customer, but not always. Many of my stories get it right, and a few of them get it wrong.

When I screw up, I expect criticism. I count on it. But I also think I have the right to know the identity of my accuser. And I think I’m allowed to insist the criticism is civil.

When it isn’t, I respond according to my conscience. I could jump into the mud with those who want to become embroiled in an unwinnable argument. Or I could take the high road, engaging with the critics who take issue with my ideas and conclusions, and who treat me with the same dignity and respect I give them.

More importantly, there’s also the time factor. Do you want me battling the B-list bloggers and anonymous critics who feel threatened by my advocacy work, or do you want me to fight for you, the consumer?

I thought so.

There’s a lesson for all of us. If you and I don’t set the ground rules for a polite discourse, our society will become the kind of place in which we don’t want to live. The person with the loudest voice will win every argument, not the one with the best ideas.

I don’t expect everyone will agree with this zero-tolerance policy toward people who want to pick a fight, and that’s fine. I’d rather have a few polite comments at the end of this post than a hundred offensive ones.

If that means I’m destined to live out the rest of my days as an obscure consumer advocate, so be it.

At least I’ve done my part to uphold civilization. Will you, too?

Should I continue my "zero-tolerance" policy?

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77 thoughts on “Why my critics get the silent treatment (and why that’s good for you)

  1. A person who “picks a fight” may do so for two reasons. First, one person just wants to unnerve another, to attack a person for the sole purpose of attacking the person. There is hardly a good reason for a respectable person to put up with that, and the lack of tolerance for such outbursts is probably warranted in most every case. On the other hand, there is a second reason why a person may want to “pick a fight.” It may simply be that in order to engage in a full and spirited debate over something controversial, a person may want to argue the position opposite that originally posited. Not much is gained from people responding, “I agree”; much more is gained by people taking opposing views–by people who really want to “pick a fight” over something substantive–even if they may not themselves fully agree with the position that they’re arguing.

    I suggest looking at the meaning and intent of what is said. Is it to express a viewpoint that is somehow related to the item being discussed? Or is it a putdown of a person without any meaningful viewpoint as to the item being discussed?

    1. Arguing an opposing point is not attacking. But remember the pose of William Buckley on his PBS “Firing Line?” He had a great time expressing his dismay at his guests’ positions and would express that dismay is such arrogant terms that it had to be taken as an attack of one’s intellect. It was fun, and they shook hands after. That was theater; attacking Christopher anonymously is “Getting back at Daddy.”

    2. The higher the level of hate, the less validity of their argument. Valid arguments can be supported by facts and reasoned analysis. Spewing silliness is the default when you have no facts or reasoned analysis.

      Differing opinions are fine, and general comment on them are fine. But this is Chris’s site. Someone with a strong opinion contrary to Chris can go start their own site.

      Chris shouldn’t let the work he’s done and the following he’s generated be hijacked by someone else too lazy or not persuasive enough to build their own following.

      1. “Someone with a strong opinion contrary to Chris can go start their own site”
        Silencing disagreement isn’t the appropriate response. It’s the expression of that disagreement that’s important. Done correctly, both sides of the argument get presented and people decide for themselves. Hopefully Chris makes the better case for his position.

        1. I agree. Chris and I disagree strongly about many positions. But Chris take the high road and I think that’s one of the strengths of his site. That he can tolerate differing opinions.

  2. Anytime you post an opinion you’ll get someone that disagrees. There are honest and dishonest arguers. The honest ones will go point by point against the topic. The dishonest ones bring up red herrings, make personal attacks, and call people names. That usually means that they don’t have a viable counter-argument. At least that’s how I look at it.
    As far as the ones that escalate, there’s a name for that. It’s called “extinction burst”. The correct response is to ignore it.

    1. Let’s get this party started! I told my husband about yesterday’s column and he was aghast. Why? He felt that we (society) are creating an entitled generation, which procreates and becomes more entitled, etc. Witness yesterday’s column. Neither he nor I grew up in families who could afford to fly. If relatives lived across the country, we either drove to see them every few years, or waited until the next funeral or wedding to make their acquaintance. When we had our own children, 1800 miles from family, they met our children the same way. Our boys didn’t fly the first time until they were 8 and 10.

      Now, everyone flies. Now, everyone expects an experience that centers on *them* and *their* comfort and *their* perceived needs. So, what are *their* children learning? That they, too, are entitled. And they do exactly the same thing that worked when they were children – they whined. Hence the rise of the entitled whiner. It’s becoming endemic.

      But it IS sure fun to read about. 🙂

          1. Thanks for asking. Their grandparents came to see *them* when they were very little. When they were a little older, we drove. When they were older yet, we moved back closer to family. When they were older than that, and we had established that they were good travelers, then they flew. That was back in the days when airfares weren’t cheap relative to income, as they are today.

          2. Oh – and I never used the words “egocentric whiner”. Backprop used “entitled whiners”. Someone who wants a full refund of two Transatlantic tickets because of a perceived insult would fit into both of those categories, though.

          3. Now, everyone flies. Now, everyone expects an experience that centers on *them* and *their* comfort and *their* perceived needs.

            Sounds like a description of “egocentric” to me.

            And they do exactly the same thing that worked when they were children – they whined.

            Sounds like a description of “whiners” to me.

            I dunno – maybe you are just too subtle for me.

          4. Sometimes I’m too subtle for myself. 🙂 Sure looks like I’m calling them egocentric whiners without using those exact words.

          5. We drove everywhere when I was a child. That was back in the days of government regulated airlines and to fly a family anywhere would have cost more than a month’s salary. But then we never needed to leave North America.

            We had several members of our extended family living in Puerto Rico at the time and when they came to the mainland (which was maybe every 5 years), we would drive to meet them when they got off the boat in Miami. Yes, boat. We then proceeded to drive them around until it was time for them to go home. It was great fun.

            Only rich people flew back then. Maybe that was a better time for travel.

            Now everyone is trying to cram as much as they can into a very short amount of time off because the modern business world will punish you if you take too much time off. Doesn’t matter how much time off you have accumulated at your job, just don’t take it off! The only way this works is if you fly. And since flying has become a commodity experience like taking the city bus always was, everyone does it.

          6. Thank you for responding so quickly. I was too busy taking care of my elderly mother in Omaha to reply. (Wow, sounds like a card from the Elliott Deck of Misfortune, doesn’t it?)

      1. People don’t remember the past objectively.

        Your generational commentary would be just as common (maybe moreso) 50 years ago if you applied it to the 60s generation and changed a few details (planes -> cars). “Johnny graduates from high school and wants a car? What is the world coming to? At that age, I used bicycles and horses to get around…”

        Ditto if you go back about 50 years more. Refrigeration? Electricity?

        The buzz-word du-jour may evolve (“insolent”, “spoiled”, “entitled”) but the meaning and the complaint generally remains the same.

        1. If everyone still used bikes and horses to get around, the world would not have an obesity problem. Of course cleaning up after the horses is a whole ‘nother issue. 🙂

          1. When I walk to work in the morning I pass a 100 acre field where there are about a dozen horses. They all are friendly and seem happy to see me. Maybe one of them would do?

          2. good exercise in picking up the road apples and horse manure could be used for fertilizer and it is organic!!!

      2. The Whine seems to be the default tone of voice these days. I hear it often while shopping – and not just from the children. The parents talk to each other using the same tone so it’s no wonder the children do as well. I can’t get over the number of grown men at their 30s and older that act like a two year old when asking their wife if they can get a snack at the grocery store. Sorry, but if I have to whine and beg someone for something I want at the grocery store, there is something really wrong with the relationship.

      3. I could not disagree more Jeanne. I too read yesterday’s post until I could no longer stomach it. The vitriol that permeated it was difficult to read, but even more difficult to believe. While your label “entitled whiner” is comparatively mild, it is nonetheless misplaced and unsupportable.

        We have no evidence of entitlement on the part of the OP other than this:

        – to the seat for which she paid
        – to bring her baby with her (in that seat)
        – to be spoken to in a polite, professional manner by airline personnel

        Instead she was, according to her, berated loudly and repeatedly and told she should have flown in the back of the aircraft. That, and that alone is her point and her heart’s cry. To label her an entitled whiner is simply over-the-top.

        And so, Chris’s article is timely. How should he respond to false labels? And to yesterday’s article, how should she? But the difference is she PAID for her experience and “experienced” an unexpected and unwarranted attack. So, I for one would like to see the labeling stop. Particularly when it lacks foundation.

        We are all entitled to make our case here. But lets do it responsibly with polite dialogue and thoughtful analysis. Our fellow readers deserve better.

        1. I upvoted you because of the polite dialogue and thoughtful analysis.

          I didn’t like yesterday’s article because:
          1) The OP lives in France and flew Air France. She was insulted that she received a letter of apology in French.
          2) The OP’s overly dramatic retelling of her story. She had a legitimate point about seating (babies can and do cry in every seat on a plane and the FA was in the wrong to say that babies are not allowed in Economy Comfort), but that point was lost in her hyperbole.
          3) Her demand for a full refund of the air fare. That demand was equally hyperbolic.
          4) We don’t have the other side of the story. That led to rampant speculation as to the OP’s culpability in this situation.

          1. From where I sit, Jeanne, you misread the article. Nowhere did she say she was insulted by the “French” apology. She simply wanted one in English – a REAL one, not the form version they sent.

            “Hyperbole”? Again, I don’t see it. A woman with a small child is verbally and repeatedly assaulted about the child? Here comes Mama Bear, a person you really don’t want to mess with (ask my daughter or my mother). I too would be very upset. Come at me – fine. Do so because of my child? Ain’t happenin’. Her tone and message were warranted (IMO). Furthermore, if I were on the flight and heard what she claims, I’d give her my contact information and happily testify in court. If her story is true, her request for a refund is not only reasonable but appropriate. No excuse for their behavior, period!

            That we don’t know the other side is not relevant to the openly nasty comments that ensued. Speculate to advance the discussion and provide Chris with thoughts to ponder. But leave it there …

          2. Hyperbole: “ Her angry words “brought me to tears,” she says. . . . I have never been more humiliated, hurt, and angry in my life, because I never knew how it felt to be reprimanded for the actions of a loved one, much less a helpless baby,” she notes.

            She wasn’t being reprimanded for the actions of a loved one; she was being reprimanded, rightly or wrongly, for her own inability to handle the situation. We could have an overly lengthy conversation as to why small children act out, but it doesn’t matter, as it was the OP’s reaction to the reprimand that is at issue here.

            You are correct that the OP doesn’t directly say that she is insulted at receiving a letter in French.

          3. Until that happens to you, it’s hard to understand the depth of emotion such an attack invokes. You hold in your arms a helpless baby who won’t stop crying – your precious baby. Along comes someone who berates you even though, as she says right after the statement you cited: “I assure you that my husband and I did our best to comfort and calm our baby”. You say she was being reprimanded for “her own inability to handle the situation”. That’s conjecture on your part.

            Again, we are ONLY told that the FA demanded that she silence the baby. I doubt that the FA cared about the why. It’s a lot like shouting at the rain – it may make you feel better, but does nothing to stop the flood. In the OPs mind, she was being punished for her baby’s non-stop crying. That’s not hyperbole in my opinion, it’s the way the attack is perceived.

            I’ll share a similar situation that we faced this past spring. Our grandson does not travel well, and fusses frequently, especially if his dad leaves the room. We make every accommodation for this, but ultimately know it cannot be avoided. Our hotel room was on the top floor in the corner. We all tried holding him and comforting him. And trips to restaurants were filled with anxiety, not knowing what to expect. Lunches went pretty well, but I was on constant guard about his “screaming”. Fortunately there were no incidents, but I can assure you there would have been if we were berated because of it. So, I more than relate the the OPs reaction …

          4. Oh bull. You may “hold in your arms a helpless baby who won’t stop crying,” but you also have, at the ends of those arms, two implements (your hands) which can used effectively to muffle that crying. My now 40-something daughter was one of those “precious” babies who lived to cry and wail and screech. No way was I going to inflict that on bystanders. I would make sure nothing was wrong, then hold a hand over her mouth until she screamed herself out. That’s all people want… just make an effort.

          5. If you try that today, you may find yourself charged with child abuse.(emphasis on the “may”). And you can do better than “Oh bull” – really unnecessary …

          6. Ha! “Oh bull” was a watered down version of what I really wanted to say. I loathe people who inflict their “precious baby” on the rest of us. If it acts out, shut it up… at least make an effort.

          7. The OP stated that the reprimands was long…how about taking out a cellphone, camcorder, etc. to record it?

            Of course, there can be rude FAs, customer service reps, etc. but there can be rude, obnoxious, self-centered, narcissistic clients and customers.

            I volunteer at my son’s school as much as I can. I can’t begin where to start on the stories of these self-centered, narcissistic parents of my son’s classmates.

            When my son was in kindergarten, his teacher disciplined some students for being unruly after the 10th warning by taking away their 15-minute afternoon recess for one day…those parents went directly to the principal to complain that their Johnny or Mary were perfect angels, etc…they are not angels since I have chaperoned several field trips over the past three school years and this school year.

            My son is in an advanced curriculum program at a public school. You can enroll your child into the program without testing; therefore, there are kids in the program that don’ belong. There are parents who complain that the teachers are not doing their jobs since their Johnny or Mary who are “geniuses” can’t do the work. The reality is that their children should be in the regular curriculum program. These self-centered parents of these children are taking time away from the students who truly belong in the program.

            Personally, the school should test students for this program but they don’t want to offend parents if their child doesn’t make it. We had our son tested at a private school that we were considering (we decided not to send him there since none of the children were smiling, seems happy, etc.) for kindergarten and he scored between Grade 2 to Grade 4 on the various subjects so we knew that he could be in this advanced program as a kindergartener.

          8. Maybe if more people start to ‘reprimanded’ parents for their actions of their children then we don’t become a society of self-centered, narcissistic individuals.

            Teachers can’t discipline their students and I am not even talking about corporal punishment.

          9. During pre-boarding, did the OP told the surrounding passengers that it was their daughter’s first flight and if she cries long, we are sorry and we will buy you drinks or etc? I am guessing not since it wasn’t in the article.

            The first time that we flew with our son, my wife was telling the surrounding passengers that it was his first flight, we are sorry in advance IF he cries or screams; etc. and will we buy you drinks if he does.

            He didn’t…he slept the whole flight (nearly 4 hours)…but we were conscious of our fellow passengers; had a plan and was ready.

            Until my son was 5, we carried children Tylenol & Motrin (until it was pulled) with us when we fly. Since he was in day care, he picked up bugs and we didn’t want to be stuck on a plane for 2 to 10 hours if he developed a fever during a flight. He never came down with a fever or got sick on a flight but we were ready…plan for the worst and expect the best.

      4. Jeanne, you are right on.

        They don’t keep the scores of games because they want everyone to be a “winner”. They gave trophies to everyone for showing up. It is no wonder why the US lost its competitive edge, can’t compete, etc.

        When my son was in the first grade, he was in the running club. His school (K to 6) competes against two to three other schools on a 1.5 mile race. There were 90 boys competing in the first grade division.

        After his first race (he finished 10th for his grade), they were handing out the ribbons to the top eight finishers. He was upset that he didn’t get a ribbon (like the trophies that he got in soccer and etc.). I told him that this is competition, this is the real world and they don’t hand out ribbons or trophies to everyone for showing up…you must excel, achieve, etc. I told him that I will train him for the next race if he wanted to get a ribbon…he finished 7th in the next race and got a ribbon and was full of achievement not that fake achievement that the is commonly preached now days.

  3. I love that you don’t allow people to use you to boost their own profile. Please continue ignoring the obvious trolls and coattailers. Honestly, I wish more people would go that route than choosing to stooping to their attacker’s level, and getting down in the muck for a non-productive battle.

  4. You’re doing great. If someone wants to hide behind being anonymous then they don’t value their opinion enough to put their own name on it and you shouldn’t either.

  5. Psychiatry is not your expertise, you can’t do anything about sociopaths with psychopathic behavior with some money and think they are intelligent and become arrogant.

  6. Anonymity has its place, but I believe it is limited to criticism of government or other organizations that could cause real harm to people. Posting on consumer issues does not meet this criteria unless you are exposing the illegal or harmful practices of a company that you work for. If a person has something to say they should be grown-up enough to own their words and post using their real name. Otherwise they should just keep their opinions to themselves.

    1. Please see what @Mel65:disqus has to say about having been attacked for having used her real name. I also had a disturbing series of incidents occur when I posted on my local paper’s comment site using my first and last names. Christopher Elliott and a few trusted individuals that post on this site do have my full name.

    2. That’s always a hard one. Posting one’s real name may have very real and adverse consequences that you are not prepared to deal with.

    1. Another old adage: “If you can’t say something nice, be quiet.” An update replaces “quiet” with “vague”. Some folks just aren’t happy unless they’re making themselves feel better at someone else’ expense, or spreading negativity. These are sad people. Stick to the high road, Chris.

  7. I had to laugh at “insult my kids or CATS” 🙂 I had an image of someone saying, “well…your…your.. your cat is UGLY, so there!” If that’s as bad as it gets, be eternally grateful! And kudos to you for taking the high road and NOT engaging!
    Years ago, when I was new to the Internet and there were no real cyber laws in most states yet, I was cyber stalked. I was attacked viciously (verbally) in game rooms, over instant messengers, via Email. My real name, phone number and address were posted in “adult” chat rooms to advertise me for sexual services/phone sex. I got phone calls at all hours from all over the world. This went on for 10 months, thru new phone numbers, etc.. with the police saying “Sorry, nothing we can do”… One day… it stopped. I never knew what I did to enrage this person and if he got bored and moved on to another victim or got hit by a bus. One thing I wish is that I had not tried to fight back. When I did, it only got more vicious and graphic (e.g.”when your husband goes away, I’m going to rape you and your children”). If I tried a (pretty lame in retrospect) counter argument, same thing. Nowadays, I’m a volunteer for Safe and Secure Online and I’m a big fan of “block, ignore, report” and thank god for cyber protection laws that do offer some small measure of relief.

    1. Tell ’em in a sweet, cloying voice to come on over, that you are VERRRRRY interested in meeting new and fascinating people with innovative ideas. When he shows up, introduce him to your buddy – Mr. Ruger.

  8. My biggest complaint is that you seem to want to have it both ways. You insist you are no expert but at the same time you are marketing your book called “How to Be the World’s Smartest Traveler” Not a somewhat smarter traveler, not the smartest traveler on your block, but rather the message is “buy my book and you will achieve the absolute pinnacle of travel expertise!!!!” How could anyone other than an expert write such a book? And if you aren’t an expert, then isn’t your book title promising what it can’t deliver and if so then why should I buy it?

    Similarly, you state “I advocate for customers. Full stop,” which is a perfectly reasonable position to take. But then you turn around and present yourself as some sort of impartial mediator, ie, “Should I mediate this case?” is one of your more popular poll questions. Which is it? Are you an advocate or a mediator?

    I suspect you will just dismiss this criticism as just more anonymous carping, but I would hope you would actually give it some consideration. I enjoy this site and come here several times a week, but more and more I find that what is of value to me is seeing mistakes other travelers have made (so that I can hopefully avoid them in the future) and some of the insights offered up by the commenters. Chris’s own contribution to the problem analysis and discussion seems less helpful to me.

    1. One goes to medical school to become, let’s say, an eye sturgeon. They train you with the information you need potentially to be the best eye sturgeon in the world. Then, it’s up to YOU to become that best eye sturgeon. Similarly, his book tells you How to Be the World’s Smartest Traveler. It does not guarantee that you will actually accomplish that discipline, but the guidance necessary to achieve that level of expertise is described in the book. As in medical school, not everything in the world that you need to accomplish your quest is contained therein; you have to continue to advance your education. I’d wager that YOU haven’t bought a copy.

      There always seems to be someone with a negative perspective. I guess yours is the one for today. Peace on you, and be well!

    2. Well, that’s an interesting perspective. The original title for the book, and the one I hoped they would use, was “The Travel Troubleshooter.” But my publisher wanted something else. If you crack the book open, you’ll see that the book is actually about avoiding common travel mistakes. And again, that is my expertise.

      And you’re right, I do advocate for consumers. But not all consumers. Sometimes, they deserve help, other times not. “Should I mediate this case” is a regular Monday feature — I ask my readers if they think I should get involved.

      On a related note, most of the criticisms of my site and advocacy work, including the anonymous emailer from last week, come from not having a familiarity with my work. They see “consumer advocate” and they make assumptions. I wish they’d take the time to read.

    3. I think you can be a full-stop customer advocate without taking on every single case. They have to have some merit. Some of the requests are kind of ridiculous, and to pursue them could strain Chris’ relationship with the insiders who are willing to work with him on resolution for the real problem cases. With a limited amount of resources at hand, sometimes you have to pick your battles. You can’t win ’em all, and it’s important to have that discernment of which are the winnable battles, and the worthy ones.

      The book title doesn’t bother me at all. It’s marketing hyperbole. “How To Not Be A Slightly Less Stupid Traveler Than You Are Right Now”, written by Pretty Smart Guy, probably wouldn’t be as catchy.

  9. No – no. Just no. You’ve stayed above the fray this far, don’t change it. The trolls can find a fire hydrant and do some deep knee bends on it. Don’t you change anything about what you’re doing.

  10. I don’t always agree with Chris on the content.. Nor do I always agree with the outcomes or actions taken.. I don’t have any issue with his position of “consumer advocate full stop” as I think there’s a lot of value in that.. and I commend him for taking on such a task and doing so against an entity – call me corporations – that are usually much better funded than he.

    However, the one thing that I do personally disagree with is Chris’ use of the term “___ apologist” as that to me is the same thing as “name calling” and signals to me a writers lack of objective facts to support their position, and using degrading names (and let’s be honest, the use of apologist is intended to be degrading) detracts from that effort to win the argument on facts.

    I get it — why he uses that term… and some may agree with it.. but to me, I’d rather let the facts – as he or others may see it – determine what a reader chooses to view the opposing opinion as, versus a blanket statement of “apologist”.

  11. Keep the high road. A wise editor once told me that if both sides don’t like what you write, then you are probably being fair. If you are generating heat from readers then you must be doing something right. Besides that, if they are raising hell with you that means somebody is getting a rest.

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