On Anonymous Sources, WoW, and Morality
Each story relied on anonymous sources (well, anonymous to you) that had information pertaining to the facts which were being reported on. Each story was cited as such, with the words crafted in a way to express the source’s validity.
But yet here we are, the evening of the big Cataclysm leak, and the crying over WoW.com not revealing its sources has reached the worst levels I’ve ever seen. People seem to think they’re entitled to the same trust that individuals place in myself and fellow editors at our site, and feel that without their personal seal of approval we have nothing more than unsubstantiated rumors.
Well, okay then. I’m fine with people questioning or holding up a skeptical eye to our news, especially with something like this. But when people shut their brains off and just start yelling, it tends to get to me. (Same with the “town halls” going on right now). And while most of those people who are yelling are getting banned from our site over the next few hours (there’s so many of them), there are some facts I think are appropriate to put out there:
First, we would never stake our reputation on posting news like this if we were not supremely confident in our sources.
Second, the sources are not just one person saying something. There’s a lot of stuff we’ve got with only one person saying it. We have no idea if it’s true. It could be false. But like a good journalist, when more than one person says the exact same thing, and are in a position where they’d know the facts at hand, it becomes valid enough to write about and bring to the public.
Third, no one will reveal their sources. This is a founding principal of modern journalism. Anonymous sources stay anonymous.
If I were to reveal the sources, I would likely be fired from my job at WoW.com. I would be untrustworthy and show a clear lack of decision making capability. I would be a person who cannot handle confidential information, and thus would be someone who could jeopardizes the welfare of the site on a daily basis.
If I were to reveal the sources I would likely not be able to get another job with responsibilities and tasks which I enjoy spending my life doing, and would be forced to be a burger expert at McDonalds. And I’d be lucky to even be able to land that job in this economy.
I’m not going to reveal the sources under any circumstance. If I did, I would be ruining the lives of people who put their trust in me. That is something I will not, cannot do. It goes against every ethical fiber of my being.