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 Columns & Editorials

September 24, 2001

Answers to Some Questions

by Jack Smith

Hopefully we can clear up some misconceptions people may have about the Internet, KARNAC and other mundane things. I say mundane because, in light of recent events on the world stage, stock car racing and other forms of entertainment have taken on somewhat less importance in the scheme of things, at least in my world.

In order to be clear about any misinterpretation of the following statements and comments, lets look at the meaning of a few words. Three words in particular are Opinions, Facts, and the cursed five-letter word, Rumor. Another word often meaning different things to different people is Friends.

A Fact could be said to be something that can be proven to exist by visible evidence.

An Opinion is something that may or may not be based on any Facts.

Webster’s says Rumor is "general talk not based on definite knowledge, mere gossip". Also "an unconfirmed report, story or statement in general circulation".

By way of example: last week a Rumor was started on an Internet message board (not belonging to KARNAC) to the effect that KARNAC.com "was going out of business". This rumor was created out of the fact that parts of KARNAC.com were unavailable to the public for varying lengths of time, anywhere from one to four days depending on various Internet factors. This Rumor was then turned into "KARNAC.com was bought out by some big web company". Unconfirmed statements put into general circulation by people with malicious intent is the hallmark of Rumor mongering and trouble making.

In actual Fact: KARNAC.com experienced loss of it's DNS (Domain Name Server) due to a fouled up system within Network Solutions that makes updating Registration Information for Domains a nightmare. The problem was at first thought to be connected either with the W32.Nimda.A@mm virus or possibly with Internet slowdowns associated with the national crisis in the US. On Thursday we isolated the problem as being with our DNS, and within 12-18 hours the problem was corrected and everything was pretty much back to normal. So sad for the Rumormongers.

Another such example is the very malicious Rumor spread by staff at a Florida speedway to the effect that we took a post offering a reward for finding a hit and run driver in Sarasota off of our message boards because the speedway in question is not a paying advertiser of the speedway. The Rumor also has versions that tracks pay KARNAC.com to keep bad things about the track off of our message boards.

The Facts regarding this are as follows:
1. The post contained the phone number of a business owner in Sarasota. Our rules clearly state, "Please remember posts are not considered news and the validity of any statements are not to be construed as factual. The authenticity of the posters is also not to be considered reliable." Therefore in order to confirm the validity, and since there was a phone number I called the business owner, confirmed the information and offered our assistance as best we could. We then wrote out the simple facts of this horrible crime, posted them in a section we call Pit Stops, which is where news articles of a brief nature usually are placed in our online magazine. We then edited the post by 'Gus n Cindy' adding the link to the article for anyone to read. The Pit Stop section is also available from links at the top of most of our boards as well as the Front Page of Florida Stock Car Racing. By taking the above steps we followed our routine procedure of verifying and publishing important information we are assured is reliable in the NEWS section, not on a message board where anyone with a malicious heart can promote any Rumor he or she likes. The message board is ENTERTAINMENT, not NEWS.

2. Tracks, which advertise, with KARNAC.com do get help in dealing with Rumor and malicious gossip. Do we remove a post simply because it is negative toward a track? The answer is no!
I firmly believe that it is good to get the feedback of the fans in order to continually improve the operation of our speedways. We strive to help our paying advertisers, regardless of the type of business, improve their image in the public arena. This is never charged for but is given as an additional service to advertiser's placed advertisements and special promotions.

If any of the staff, ownership or other interested parties of the speedway in question had bothered to bring their complaint directly to KARNAC.com through any of our email addresses or by the readily available KARNAC.com phone number the above Rumor would have been unnecessary.

We try to adhere to the basic premise that our News sections of KARNAC.com whether on our Southern Short Track or Florida Stock Car Racing site remain a place for Facts. Our message boards are a place for Opinions. When one of our moderators feel a particular topic is headed into Rumor mongering and becomes malicious the topic is frequently deleted. We have been over and over this point in the last few years. Anyone who feels our moderators are being too lax in this regard is always invited to contact KARNAC.com so that remedies can occur.

I find it particularly amusing that our Community Forum, which requires Real Names, is not used anywhere near the level of our good ole straightforward 'post with any anonymous name you wish' boards. It is in my personal Opinion a shame that more people are not willing to express their Opinions openly thus creating real dialogues with real people who are being real with each other.

I daresay that is how Friends are created.

What does that word mean to you?

-Jack Smith

[Note: if you have a Rumor you would like clarified regarding some aspect of the Florida racing scene, email us at rumors@karnac.com]

Have an opinion on this story? Post a message on our Message Board!
or send a letter to the editor!



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