The Willful Ignorance of the Internet Writer

Stop Pretending You Don’t Know

Jonathan Greene
Dec 12, 2020 · 5 min read
Photo by Chris Benson on Unsplash

It’s become cyclical. I enforce my own personal standards for my publications. A small subset of writers lash back that ethical constructs, even on publications that I own and do all of the work for, are an affront to their freedom of speech and that it shouldn’t matter who else they write for. They leave, even though they were being asked to leave, in a huff and send me some choice words about how I can’t tell writers what to do and who to write for.

Then, days later, weeks later, months later, they email me. Now they understand what I was saying and it just took them a little time to see the pyramid scheme for what it was. They’d like to come back. For some, I oblige, but only if they didn’t attempt to undress me with their fervor on the way out. For some, I decline, because I’m just not buying it.

The willful ignorance of the internet writer is widespread, disturbing, and disingenuous. Willful ignorance is defined as:

A decision in bad faith to avoid becoming informed about something so as to avoid having to make undesirable decisions that such information might prompt.

As these pyramid publications have babies all over Medium’s delivery room, more writers are trying to convince themselves that one of the particular offshoots is different. But they aren’t. They all have one goal and it’s not for your benefit. It’s for theirs. Continuing to pretend you can’t see it is just a last gasp of desperation for more views or claps or pats on your head.

Jeff Barton and I have found hundreds of directly plagiarized articles over the past three months and sent them all to Medium. Plagiarized from major media outlets and magazines, word for word, and sometimes adjusted in tiny part. We’ve even found Medium stories plagiarized directly on Medium.

The majority of these plagiarized stories have appeared in one of the pyramid scheme rags. Think about that. It’s not that I expect every editor on Medium to be able to know when someone with 3 followers writes a professional piece on marriage and relationships with no background or credentials and a clearly fake profile…wait, no, I do. I do expect that. Because it’s obvious.

The only way these get through is because editors don’t care and are more concerned with volume and stacking the bricks onto the pyramid of their monetary dreams. The art of writing, much less good writing, gets wholly abandoned in favor of click and play articles submitted by just copy and pasting something off of the Internet. And they know. You know. Stop pretending you don’t know.

Willful ignorance of the law is not a defense. I was a prosecutor for seven years, trust me when I tell you that most people charged with a crime would like it to be. How can I be charged with kidnapping when I never read the statute that said that stealing a person was against the law? See the point. The law doesn’t care.

But creatives should care. We should care. We should care if our new work, which we spent days on, is sitting next to an unedited work, rife with misspellings and rogue content, just because there is no rhyme or reason to what goes where. There is no curation. And because of that, there is no overall value other than scale for those so desperate to think that matters.

You can’t harangue me for calling out the publications that are so clearly violating the rules for all the wrong reasons and then later, come to my doorstep with a peach pie telling me you were wrong and didn’t know it. You knew it. We all knew it. You were just practicing willful ignorance.

Photo by Sebastian Herrmann on Unsplash

Willful ignorance is a practice most used by the entitled internet writer because they think you can’t argue against it. You can’t tell them that they saw something they didn’t see. Sure, but when you have two eyes and spend all day looking at something, it’s hard to win your point that you failed to see what was staring you right in the face.

So, stop pretending you don’t know. Cut the shi*t. Just say you want to write there because you want to get the most views and you don’t care about the overall quality or direction of the publication as long as it gets you more views. Own. It. But have you ever wondered what those views are worth?

The views inside a pyramid publication are built as an echo chamber. No one else is reading it besides the hundreds upon thousands of contributors who feel so blessed to write there. No reader of anything worth reading descends upon a pyramid publication for good content or perfect poetry. No reader.

It’s laughable. You are all writing to each other and thinking it’s meaningful because there are a lot of you doing it. Echo. Chamber. Your views are fake. Your scroll time is fake. Your support is fake. The entire foundation that this is built on is a house of cards that will fall. And when it does, I will be standing there to tell you that I told you so.

And you? You will either fall on the sword and finally agree to what you knew all along or you will continue to practice willful ignorance. My bet is on the latter because there will always be another echo chamber to fill your ego in.

The Death of Online Writing

A personal collection of essays on modern internet writing by Jonathan Greene.

Jonathan Greene

Written by

Father, poet, writer, real estate investor/team leader, certified life coach, sociable introvert. Curating a meaningful life. IG: trustgreene |

The Death of Online Writing

A collection of essays about how online writing has died amongst us from Jonathan Greene.

Jonathan Greene

Written by

Father, poet, writer, real estate investor/team leader, certified life coach, sociable introvert. Curating a meaningful life. IG: trustgreene |

The Death of Online Writing

A collection of essays about how online writing has died amongst us from Jonathan Greene.

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