1. #1
    Lampa's Avatar
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    Hell yeah! Hell no!

    Combat Sports writing ethics question

    I came across a small ethical dilemma today in writing for Mid-Atlantic Combat Sports that I'm in the process of resolving, but I kind of wanted the BS opinion on the topic.

    A brief breakdown of my work for Mid-Atlantic Combat Sports is that we cover news and events for our area, and the site functions like a franchise of the larger US Combat Sports. Myself and two other guys are part owners of the Mid-Atlantic franchise and split the revenue 50/50 with home office. I handle a lot of the writing and editing, while my other two partners focus on bringing in potential sponsors, but we all do a little of everything.

    Last night, I saw one of my partners had written an article on a school in Baltimore that was positive but kind of vague. Normally I get called upon to edit things like that given that the other two guys are MMA referees and industry people where I'm trained as a writer. When I asked him for some specifics to rewrite the work a bit, I realized that the school he was referring to sounded familiar because it had been subject to an investigation here: Michelle Martin BB in Baltimore, MD? - No BS MMA and Martial Arts

    Now, the short version is that there were no outright lies about credentials, but there was probably some deliberate obscuration to allow people to assume different credentials than were actually there.

    So, I called up my partner and talked to him. We agreed that we're not BS and dealing with credentials isn't our mission statement. But, I was forced to ask the question "Is this a good school?" Because not getting into investigations is one thing but I won't endorse something just for the sake of playing nice.

    What my partner told me was that he spoke to the instructors at a children's grappling competition, and he was impressed with how good they were working with the children. Now, I've worked with my partner for a little over a month now and I trust his judgment. Also, he mentioned that he wanted to look at some gyms in a positive light that are not necessarily focused on the hard core fighter, another thing I won't argue with.

    I took down the article and am currently rewriting it to more specifically focus on the children's program there that my partner liked so much. The revised version should be up within the hour.

    My question is, did I handle this correctly? It still feels weird to me, and it's very important to me to keep the integrity of our positive gym profiles, which are basically endorsements. If nothing else just because of all the fantastic places that we've said are fantastic and want to be taken at our word.

  2. #2

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    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    It doesn't sound like its in you're best interest to go against your partner, or what the goal of you're company is. I think you did the right thing, by highlighting the positive, in their kid's program. It's a subtle and hidden opposition of their adult classes. And I don't think they can call you on it, because you stuck with the positive.

  3. #3

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    I'm nobody but it sounds like you did the right thing to me.

  4. #4
    BaronVonDingDong's Avatar
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    Sounds like you got it right to me. Be positive about the things you can be positive about, and don't mention the ones you can't. If you feel the need to make a subtextual statement, then recommend it for people specifically thinking of putting their kids into grappling.

    Once your franchise is established, and your contacts book full, then you can go on crusades.

  5. #5
    It is Fake's Avatar
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    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    Quote Originally Posted by Lampa View Post
    I came across a small ethical dilemma today in writing for Mid-Atlantic Combat Sports that I'm in the process of resolving, but I kind of wanted the BS opinion on the topic.

    A brief breakdown of my work for Mid-Atlantic Combat Sports is that we cover news and events for our area, and the site functions like a franchise of the larger US Combat Sports. Myself and two other guys are part owners of the Mid-Atlantic franchise and split the revenue 50/50 with home office. I handle a lot of the writing and editing, while my other two partners focus on bringing in potential sponsors, but we all do a little of everything.

    Last night, I saw one of my partners had written an article on a school in Baltimore that was positive but kind of vague. Normally I get called upon to edit things like that given that the other two guys are MMA referees and industry people where I'm trained as a writer. When I asked him for some specifics to rewrite the work a bit, I realized that the school he was referring to sounded familiar because it had been subject to an investigation here: Michelle Martin BB in Baltimore, MD? - No BS MMA and Martial Arts

    Now, the short version is that there were no outright lies about credentials, but there was probably some deliberate obscuration to allow people to assume different credentials than were actually there.

    So, I called up my partner and talked to him. We agreed that we're not BS and dealing with credentials isn't our mission statement. But, I was forced to ask the question "Is this a good school?" Because not getting into investigations is one thing but I won't endorse something just for the sake of playing nice.

    What my partner told me was that he spoke to the instructors at a children's grappling competition, and he was impressed with how good they were working with the children. Now, I've worked with my partner for a little over a month now and I trust his judgment. Also, he mentioned that he wanted to look at some gyms in a positive light that are not necessarily focused on the hard core fighter, another thing I won't argue with.

    I took down the article and am currently rewriting it to more specifically focus on the children's program there that my partner liked so much. The revised version should be up within the hour.

    My question is, did I handle this correctly? It still feels weird to me, and it's very important to me to keep the integrity of our positive gym profiles, which are basically endorsements. If nothing else just because of all the fantastic places that we've said are fantastic and want to be taken at our word.
    Well, lately we have stumbled across a bunch of issues in this realm latley. I think you did the right thing. No, you aren't fraud busting but, you don't want to be an enabler either. Remember, most questionable people received a break somewhere that lead to the problems that happened "today."

  6. #6

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    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    Sounds like you hit a nice median there. You pumped the kids program and there was no beef with that. Of course, since there was no hard evidence against them in the initial investigation, you did well to avoid that briarpatch. But then again, like anywhere else, as individual skills/aptitudes and attitudes vary, you always suggest visiting prospective schools and observe before considering becoming a member, right?

  7. #7
    Lampa's Avatar
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    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    Thanks for the responses. I felt like I handled that one correctly but every time a situation gives me pause it's nice to have outside people to reflect off of. Keeps me honest

    Quote Originally Posted by Cougar Spirit View Post
    Sounds like you hit a nice median there. You pumped the kids program and there was no beef with that. Of course, since there was no hard evidence against them in the initial investigation, you did well to avoid that briarpatch. But then again, like anywhere else, as individual skills/aptitudes and attitudes vary, you always suggest visiting prospective schools and observe before considering becoming a member, right?
    Well, all of our gym profiles have some kind of story angle to them. So, it's not like it's a direct recommendation because we focus it around something happening involving the school, even if it's titled as a gym profile. There is also a section of the site we're building specifically just for gym listings and locations, so apart from those story angles we also try to encourage research.

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