I get a lot of emails. Most are very welcome. But I’ve never had an email like the ones I received this morning.
From: Ambrose Adriano
Subject: Roger Pearse’s blog contact form: Interested in merging Tertullian.org with Patristics.co?
First of all, thank you for all the content you’ve done. I can only imagine how long it took. I am the creator of www.patristics.co, and I was wondering if you wanted to join forces and merge your content onto my site. I have great aesthetics, but I am lacking in time and resources when it comes to uploading content. I would love to work with you, since we seem to have the same heart for the church fathers. Anyway, I just thought I’d ask.
Well that’s a very kind invitation, of course. Mr Adriano has created an empty website with some graphics; would I care to fill it with content? My first reaction was to write back “Write your own damn content”. But of course I get offers of collaboration from well-meaning people, which are sometimes clumsily expressed, and one must be polite.
But then I thought … “content”? I don’t write “content”. I write stuff for people to use. “Content” is what a professional might call it. This… this does not feel like a well-meaning amateur.
Sadly I was unable to think of any reason why I should donate my website with a mass of intellectual property to a complete stranger, and work at his direction, so I replied:
That’s an interesting email. But I’m actually very happy doing my own thing, you know? 🙂
Good luck with your project.
That should have been the end of it. But Mr Adriano – the name on the email was now “Garry Adriano” – was not finished, and wrote this:
Alright, I’ll make one last pitch then I’ll leave you alone Roger 😉
I understand that it would probably be uncomfortable to make such a big change, and it’s much easier to go with business as usual. However, are you really happy with “your” thing? Don’t you want to broaden your vision and make this about more than just you? I have a vision, and my heart is for educating the common man (through beauty) instead of just being a resource that scholars use occasionally.
If you’re afraid that you’d lose autonomy, I’m not interested in controlling you. You have the freedom to do what you already do, and you wouldn’t have to pay for hosting.
I have thousands of visitors with a rejuvenated love for the content, and it’s always growing. People do not want the past, they want the future, and this is what I am trying to give them. I will pray that you would one day reconsider and see me as being an opportunity for your own increase, rather than bury your talent in the sand merely because it happens to be yours.
“I have a vision….” is very eloquent, isn’t it? And, despite having no content, he already has “thousands of visitors”. Note the absence of mention of copyright, tho.
But funnily enough neither email actually shows any interest in the “content”. That’s of no importance, plainly. That “email” reads like boiler-plate. If you wanted to get some gullible amateur to hand over their content to you, on some random subject, so that you could monetise it and make money, you might have such a letter on file, usable for any subject.
Perhaps I’m over-wary, but this really made me nervous. The internet was once a network of people giving generously of their time and knowledge to the world. In some places it still is. Today there are plenty of sites which purport to advise the reader on how to get rich quick by creating a blog or a website. It seems we have a population of takers, rather than givers, attempting to take advantage.
I have no idea who Mr Adriano might be. But perhaps others will receive his eloquent emails also. Falling in with his requests might not be in their best interest.
Let the website author beware. Caveat auctor.
UPDATE: A fresh email this evening.
Your blog post is very sad, inaccurate, and filled with assumptions about my intent, but if you wish to immediately judge and publicly mock people you don’t know, that’s between you and God. I did not even bring money into the conversation. That was your assumption.
The good news for you is, I don’t really care about your opinion of me. The bad news is, God does.