Signal to noise ratio

It was with considerable sadness and concern that I heard of the shit storm which resulted out of an article being published in a recent edition of TCIA Magazine. This time it was Phil Kelley upon whom the righteous anger and indignation of the internet pundits was unleashed for writing an article examining the pros and cons of aerial friction devices for rigging, based upon some testing they have done, and also for making some recommendations based upon their findings.

Phil is someone I value and respect for the dedication, passion and expertise he brings to our industry. After having watched him present and having run a number of events together, I am impressed by the level of commitment and kindness he freely offers to people on the courses. Phil is making a valuable and important contribution towards making the industry a safer and better place, going above and beyond what he needs to do.

I therefore find it highly offensive and unfair that Phil of all people should be exposed to this level of vitriol and abuse – regardless on what my opinion is regarding the article in question. All the more so as the criticisms are largely unfounded. I cannot help but wonder, having read some of the comments and attacks, whether the persons writing them actually bothered to read the article – or, dare I suggest it, made the effort to contact Phil to clarify whether they might have misunderstood his intent?

There is a common thread emerging here, which is if in doubt to cast facts to the wind, insinuate vested interest and a sinister conspiracy (did anyone say Info Wars and fake news?) and throw the supposed offender to the trolls – who interestingly enough themselves may have a degree of vested interest in the matter being debated. Ultimately this feels a bit like taking cheap shots at certain people who expose themselves. The sad thing is, of course, that we all stand to lose from this kind of behaviour, as the obvious conclusion to these kinds of shenanigans is to ask oneself the question of why risk exposing oneself in an attempt to offer something to the industry if this is the result. This in turn decreases the quality of discussion surrounding the techniques we employ and the tools we use.

Let me be clear: the language and behaviour being displayed during these shit storms are not normal or balanced. I am saddened to see voices of reason drowned out in this fashion. This is what happens when the signal to noise ratio tips against the signal – and all becomes noise.

Thank you, Phil, for your contributions. I for one appreciate and value them.