I've been asking Sean Gallagher for two days now to report out the story of Orca. As the writer at Ars Technica covering the story of Romney's "fail whale," I would expect that of him. As I long-time reader of Ars Technica, I know it often has the best coverage of the tech side of stories like this.
But Gallgaher, known as @packetrat on Twitter, punted telling me piously that he "preferred to run with facts and my own reporting, thx," as, you know, a superior tekkie-wiki tech journo and all, above all these lowly bloggers.
In his original story, he referred to an "unnamed firm" that had done the work on Orca. That was lame, as he could well have gotten that a lot faster than he did, knowing his connections in the geek world.
He still hasn't reported who has done it.
Yet he knows the firm, the names of the devs, and has contacted them for a statement.
That left everybody in blogs and comments for three days to try to find this out -- and the lefty geeks naturally blamed Romney himself and management consultants and Dan Centinello everybody under the sun but the coders, protecting their own tribe as per usual. There was the usual snark about Microsoft, briefly mentioned in a report reports, including TechCrunch, and Accenture, a big consulting firm known to outsource to India and other foreign countries.
Meanwhile, today I asked Avinade, the Indian firm that several gossipers on tech lists were claiming had gotten the ORCA job whether they were on it, and they denied involvement on Twitter. I accept that. Accenture is a huge whale itself; I have no idea how you get them to comment on anything, if ever. I suspect we'll find out they were involved and we will never learn much more because they are very good at covering their social media and regular media tracks -- that's what they do for their clients.
Stil, I persisted in asking the question. That sure annoyed Sean, but he was likely hoping that he would "put me in my place" and now he believes he has with this blog post today, with its photoshopped "Hey bloggers, u mad?"
He'd like to pretend that "conservative bloggers" are spinning conspiracy theories because they just can't get over their bitter loss of the election and want to scapegoat somebody. And maybe they are. But it's okay to keep asking legitimate questions while dilatory tech writers like Packet Rat take their time on investigation of their own.
Actually, I first read of the concept that the Orca failure could have been a hack by the respected conservative-leaning site RealClearPolitics. Funny, that. Erin McPike wrote on November 6, national political reporter for RCP, wrote that
@ErinMcPike ORCA, Romney turn-out app may have been hacked bottom line, GOP sources in several locales have confirmed something is amiss.
I wouldn't have suspected a "hack" -- although of course, I should know better, as the John Edwards campaign in Second Life was hacked viciously, Sarah Palin's mail was hacked by a guy who went to jail for doing that, and so on. It's a nasty, brutal campaign we had here.
I didn't lean toward the perennial pompous geek explanation that when there is a screw-up, you should suspect incompetence as the simplest explanation rather than malice. That's because long, long exposure to geeks on the Internet has taught me to see that spite is the simpler reflex for many of them.
Yesterday, Sean told me on Twitter that he had a denial from Targeted Victory. He didn't post it; they posted nothing. Meanwhile, Zac Moffat wasn't saying anything either. Today, Sean said on Twitter that it wasn't likely a job Targeted Victory could take on with only two devs and a program manager or something -- BTW I made the same same point as well -- and that as they said in the Navy (which he was in), it takes six feet to make a mutiny. Well, yeah, maybe...
So what's the story here, then? Targeted Victory then denied that it was on Orca, this was confirmed, and that left them only responsible for that *other* big fail-whale -- the VP notification ap. That they most definitely worked on. So what are we to believe about that? It was, um, just a content problem, as the choice went from Mitt's lips to the ap manager's ears? Really, guys? Or Ryan is disloyal and secretly calls his friends in the mainstream media first?
While Packet Rat does a star turn trouncing those evil "conservative bloggers" like Breitbart and Red State (where I can never even get registered -- I don't think they like me there) -- and lumping me in with them -- he never does answer the question about Orca.
Meanwhile, in the comments, the anonymous geeks are all having fun saying I'm a racist, which is what was predictable. I say the things others think and are too afraid to say as they are too politically correct. I asked why obvious Obama voters could really have their heart in making tech work for Romney. And that's ok to ask.
Because the real question isn't about just one obvious constituency for Obama, or about the race or ethnicity of this or that person, but whether the geek class can be trusted to make our political process work.
I submit that they cannot; I submit that they are like a fifth column. Why? Because they do not care if they are neutral; they gloat, they sneer, they ridicule, they hate, they vilify when tech breaks down in the political process for half of America. If there are some good geeks who haven't laughed and sneered and enjoyed this thoroughly and wished for more of it, they have been very far and few between.
That conviction is why I started this blog some years ago; it's why I continue no matter how much I'm ridiculed. I'm very concerned about a democracy that depends on coders, when the coders cannot be trusted to be neutral, and when they even weld their worldviews right into the tools (Drupal).
And I will keep on persisting with my articulation of these concerns, regardless of whatever I'm accused of, because the issues are higher than me and my particular set of beliefs.