16 February 2008

The Best?

What is the best? Let's put aside the fact that it is virtually impossible to define the best of anything. The best you can hope for are the opinions of those who participate in whatever it is you are trying to define the best of. Once in a while, you'll find something that stands above its competition, but even in that case the agreement won't be universal.

A few days ago, Keith started a couple of posts in his blog and forum to solicit the opinions of his readers to put forth a list of five images that they thought were the "best ever" fractal images. I haven't contributed because I honestly don't know what I consider the five best images I've seen. I have favorite artists who have a great many images I like. I have seen some spectacular images from people I can't even remember who they are.

It's an interesting topic, but let's not forget that it is just people's opinions. In this case, it is a relatively small sampling of opinions. Are you going to feel slighted or upset if you weren't included in someone's list? Is this little exercise slighting your favorite program, or favoring one program over another?

Of course, this little exercise it too rich a target for Orbit Trap to pass up. In the post, "The Best Fractal Art Ever Created", the author can't resist the attempt to add another "positive" contribution to the discussion. Of course, I'm being sarcastic. The post is one more in a long, long list of rants taking pot shots and other various forms of attack against Keith, Ultra Fractal users, Ultra Fractal the program, BMFAC judges, various online forums, etc.

The author does attempt to be humorous, and uses syrupy sarcasm throughout in attempt to lessen the obviousness of his attacks. Of course, the author defends his post by claiming that it is full of "satire" and "irony". Perhaps this was the intent. But, when looked at in the totality of the history of Orbit Trap posts, this seems to me to be a convenient dodge to mask the real purpose of the post. I enjoy satire and irony, but does that make it a "positive" contribution to the discourse surrounding fractal art as the Orbit Trap authors (one anyway) claim to want to make their blog?

The only truly positive contribution the author makes is to show several images from nature, which are indeed examples of the beauty contained in nature. But, he just can't resist by concluding with one more dig at UF,

"If only they'd used Ultra Fractal instead..."
I just have to wonder what is/are really the reason(s) behind the constant attacks on others from the Orbit Trap authors. Post after post contain outright and carefully veiled digs at others in the posts. Are these positive contributions? They don't seem to be to me.

Are they "critiques" or merely "commentary"? They don't seem to be to me.

Why do I care? Well, I don't like to see unjustified attacks on others. If I disagree, I like to voice my opinion. Plus, I can't comment there. So, I'll just comment here. I also enjoy debates from time to time, unlike the Orbit Trap authors.

So, I ask you, what is wrong with discussing what people's opinions are about what is the best?


cruelanimal said...

Why can't satire be "productive"? It sure worked for writers like Jonathan Swift. The point of the post you cite was to play on the best fractal art ever created. Right (nudge nudge)? So, I used examples from the natural world to illustrate the best fractal art ever created. It was a joke -- to anyone but the severely irony-deprived.

The truth is we let you post comments on Orbit Trap for many months, Ken. But I think anyone stumbling into your blog will quickly understand why we eventually came to see you as a troll. Are you ever going to write about anything other than the atrocities you find on OT? You are absolutely obsessed with us and our blog, Ken -- to the point of exhibiting a kind of Howard Beale mania.

And can I ask a small favor? Would you mind actually reading our posts -- and reading them carefully -- before responding to them? That one simple action would surely help your readers better comprehend what we really said while simultaneously eliminating the many distortions, omissions, and falsehoods you are currently making. Thanks.


Ken said...


How nice of you to drop by.

Satire can be productive. Does that mean your attempt is? Not in my opinion. I didn't misunderstand your attempt at all. It just fell far short of the mark, in my opinion. When read in the totality of your posts, there appears to be more than satire at work. Perhaps I'm wrong, but that is the impression conveyed. And, I'm not the only one that has reached that conclusion.

I'll write about what I want to write about. At the moment, that is commenting your OT posts. I have other things I'll write about at some point. Just consider me your #1 fan. :-)

I've read your posts. I've read them multiple times as I've written my responses. If I make factual errors, I'll gladly correct them. If I make assumptions that are wrong, you are free to point out where I'm wrong. If convinced, I'll gladly acknowledge that fact.
Unlike you and Tim, I have no problem whatsoever in admitting when I'm wrong or make a mistake.

I do notice that you do not point out any distortions, omissions, or falsehoods that I'm making. If you expect such charges to be taken seriously, then I expect you to point out in detail where you think I'm wrong.

I don't care whether or not you agree with me, just as you obviously don't care when others disagree with you. Much of what you have written is your opinion, just as much of what I've written is my opinion. Where I've taken OT to task is when you have been factually wrong, made unfounded personal attacks, or are making assumptions that are not correct, etc. Toby discovered the same things and has pointed them out. You obviously don't take such criticism seriously, as you have decided to ridicule him as you have me and others.

You once suggested I start my own blog. Well, events led to me doing that. You should be happy. :-)

cruelanimal said...


I have nothing more to add.

I have faith that your readers -- at least those who aren't sycophants -- can read between the lines here and clearly see what’s going on.

Good luck to you.


Ken said...


What's going on here is that you banned me from commenting at Orbit Trap. No problem, that's up to you.

You don't like lengthy, detailed comments to your posts as evidenced by you banning me and now complaining about Toby. No problem, that's up to you.

Since I can't comment on your posts in the comments of your blog, I'll make any comments I have here. No problem, that's up to me.

I've detailed my problems with your posts. Some of my problems are differences of opinion. No problem, reasonable people can have differences of opinion.

Some problems, as detailed in my Fractal Universe Calendar post, show how you are factually and ethically wrong in your attacks.

If you want to accuse me of being inaccurate or making false statements, then I'd appreciate it if you had the courtesy to detail those objections. If I'm wrong, I'll make corrections.

Nothing more is going on here than me writing comments, so far, to your posts. You write opinion pieces on your blog, I'm writing them here. The difference is, I'll make corrections if I'm wrong.