A note in defence of the DSLR rumour mill

A lot of bullshit surrounds the DSLR community and a lot of talk, but so what? Some people are worth listening to and some aren’t – that’s life.

When Planet5D and Philip Bloom posted about the T2i firmware hack, I was preparing to go on holiday in Munich and I found the u-stream broadcast by Ron completely bizarre as did Philip, and pretty much everyone figured it out after a day, and didn’t waste too much time over it.

But a small part of me is slightly hurt with some of the chatter afterwards about ‘gullible DSLR community, full of bullshit, check your sources, never publish rumours’ and some of the finger pointing is just unacceptable.

I think it’s totally unfair to use a stupid pointless hoax like this as a stick to hit bloggers with. It wasn’t particularly bothersome to me at the time and nobody really 100% believed it, not for more than a few minutes anyway – but some of the remarks made in the aftermath have really angered me.

Why?

Bloggers pride themselves on helping people with quality information and being first to the news. The hoax was an idiot bomb designed to make people look foolish, when in fact they were all in the process of doing their jobs – putting initial faith in the source and figuring stuff out for themselves.

When the GH1 hacker Vitaliy Kiselev came along before the hack was even released, he asked for support on DVXuser and some members didn’t believe him. Some did and showed faith, and now the ones who didn’t are the ones to look foolish, as Vitaliy rolled out one improvement after another, for free.

See – that initial trust in someone is important.

Also the rumour mill, epitomised by sites like CanonRumors and 43rumors keeps turning, and I have lost count of the number of times I’ve heard of a camera release first on those sites. Yes sometimes they get it wrong, and sometimes they publish make-believe, with a disclaimer that it’s probably not true – that to me is entertaining and part of the process of weeding out the good stuff from the bad.

There are genuine sources (I know a few myself) and it’s unfair to bash the rumour messengers just because of one hoax.

The easiest thing to do is to never publish speculation or rumours, but then the entertainment value of your editorial drops dramatically. Those that take the easy road may save face, but they lose readers.

As more and more filmmakers become publishers, with their own blogs and editorial, it’s important to exercise skill and judgement but equally important to have the balls not to water-down your editorial.

Some say that this hoax shows speculation and rumours to be pointless wastes of time, and that they thought that all along. What value is there in saying that after a hoax is shown up for what it is?

Far braver is to try and unravel new events and to tell it like it is, and change your mind as the facts become clearer.

If people had shown a cynical lack of trust in Vitaliy, he’d have never raised the funds for his first GH1, and we’d all be worse off for that.

There’s always room for satire and clever pranks too – but this T2i hoax wasn’t even well executed – it was charmless and inept. It had so many holes in it as I wrote about here. As a joke it wasn’t funny and as a hoax it was malicious. As satire it was way off the mark.

Meanwhile rumour sites have worked hard to build up quality sources and deserve your trust.

Keep faith in rumours, keep faith in your fellow man – yes there might be more idiot hoaxers out there who are trying to stir things up in a nasty way, but I can guarantee the first truth about the 5D Mark 3 will be on a rumours site. Just like it was with the Mark II.

Ronald Aiello should be ashamed of himself for damaging people’s trust in one-another – he is less a prankster more a malicious liar.