Disappointment for Paladins

Actually, I daresay that disappointment is being shared by many players in the healing community as well. Ferarro, one of the main pillars for Paladin resources has been discovered for not being truthful.

It’s not my place to discuss blog politics. But I’ve seen a lot of discussion and questions about what’s going on. I don’t know all the facts, but I can definitely start with putting some pieces together.

Timeline over the past week

Here’s a quick list of events over the past week that have led to this. I suggest reading everything listed below first.

So what exactly went wrong here? What’s the offense? Here we’ve got a great Paladin blog that’s helped many new and veteran Paladins of all specs become better.

A good portion of the WoW blogging community writes under a pseudonym or a pen name (false name). I’m one of the rare WoW bloggers who write with their real name (technically Matt is my name and Matticus is what I sign off with). In this case, another person’s identity was assumed and used without their knowledge. Pictures and various videos were lifted to add further authenticity. It’s a good thing this wasn’t being used maliciously. Some serious damage could have been done.

It was an extremely elaborate operation. Seven different people all writing under one name at various stages in the blog’s life. A Blizzard employee? CIA agent? It doesn’t make sense to me. Why claim to be a Blizzard employee and write about stuff that can’t legally be written about? Doesn’t that break an NDA of some sort?

I’m actually quite impressed that someone’s been able to carry on this charade for a long time. We’re talking on the scale of years.

Do I buy what happened?

I’m not quite sure what to believe now. This is the internet. You have your beliefs, I have my beliefs. It just seems amazingly far fetched. Some people are going to believe and trust what was said because they want to believe and maintain the illusion. Skeptics out there will continue to point out various flaws.

Personally, it just looks too easy. It sounds too easy.

Anyway I’ll stop here for now. Read through the posts above and come to your own conclusions. The thing about the blogging community here is that if something seems or smells off, someone’s bound to keep digging and digging until they get something. So for all the new bloggers out there, when you hear the advice to blog as yourself we literally mean it. Don’t try to assume anyone elses identity.

When you read anything, always look at it from a critical point of view. Use your head, use your reasoning and figure out if what you’re reading makes sense. Too many people these days read something and just automatically assume it’s true since the source seems authoritative. Be critical about everything you read (especially here since I probably write more mistakes than I do correct stuff).

Don’t believe everything you read.

Error, no group ID set! Check your syntax!
About Matticus

Matticus is the founder of World of Matticus and Plus Heal. Read more of his columns at WoW Insider. League of Legends player. Caffeine enthusiast.


  1. Heh, well i’s all pretty clever if you ask me – any publicity is good publicity, you know. And, honestly, if the articles are good, who cares? Sounds like making a mountain out of a mole hill to me but then I guess I’m just hardened to this sort of stuff in the Internet. Never take it at face value.

  2. To me, the most cryptic part of the latest Ferraro post is: “We run other WoW blogs, as well.”

    Makes you wonder who, no doubt I’ve got some of them on my blogroll…

    Pikes last blog post..Pike’s Avatar Commissions Are Now Open!

  3. That’s too weird. I’m glad that I’m personally too incompetent with technology to fake an identity. My photo-altering was limited to chopping a picture of me with a few friends down to a headshot!

    I can see how this happened, but Ferraro and the site are in serious trouble. There have been other similar cases in the past, particularly with “faked” autobiographies. In that case, the writers’ careers are usually over. There is, in fact, such a thing as bad publicity.

    I think I will write a bit different article on the personal narrative than I might have before this came to light. The way I see it, we all write as a “persona,” not a person. The Syd you know from the blog is an aspect of the writer–the aspect that lives and breathes Warcraft. Sometimes things from other aspects of my life bleed over into the blog, and the writing series is a good example of that. However, if you had me, the person, not the green-haired elf, as a Spanish teacher, you wouldn’t necessarily recognize me. In each aspect of our lives, we are a different person. I am different in my role as daughter, sister, spouse, employee, friend, etc–each time, a different persona. The Ferraro thing is an exaggeration of that. It seems like the writers created a character–using someone else’s image–instead of just creating an avatar or fictional persona. I think no one would have minded if “Ferraro” wasn’t tied to a real person’s stolen identity. This is really a shame, because I liked the blog.

    I did wonder why there were so many pictures, but I just thought that Ferraro was really vain!

  4. I saw the headline and thought WoW decided to kick around the pally class a bit more in the name of balancing Arena content. I girded myself for real disappointment.

    I guess after 15 years of being online, the “I’m not REALLY the person in the pictures” reveal is not a big deal to me anymore. Especially in something as small as a blog about a game.

    I read Paladin Schmaladin and like it. And since it really wasn’t maliciously done (more of a misguided “omg this blog is so important they’ll stop reading if we say we’re switching authors” intent) I’ll probably continue to do so.

    Kimberlys last blog post..A failed goblin

  5. Corpset says:

    Well, as Jagoex comments: If they really did switch authors over the years, how did the WoW.com-interviewed Fer-person know insider-info enough on Jagoexs dealings with one of the first Fer-persons to comment? Do they keep a big folder on each Fer-person? 😛

    No, I say this latest post is a big lie too, but other than that I don’t really care. If the info is good, I don’t care who writes it. But please stop lying.

  6. That’s really strange, but… there have been weirder? I dunno. Never really heard of the blog, but the concept of ghost writing and hidden identities and whatever… not too strange.

    As long as the paladin content is truthful and solid, I don’t think there should be a problem with it. If it’s informative and is for the “greater good”, then no one really loses— it’s just another gossip point!

    I hope.

    Kittss last blog post..Stop Whining!: 10-man XT-002 Hard Mode

  7. Starburn says:

    Just goes to show that bloggers aren’t journalists – WoW Insider presumably didn’t check out Ferraro’s background at all for instance – given the slightly far fetched internal raid tester comments in the interview.

  8. Neviril says:

    Yea, I’m kinda meh on this being newsworthy at all. Yep, ghostwriters. So what though? It doesn’t really detract from the content at all; that remains as solid and top notch as it was before we knew all of that. I don’t really see the big deal with it, nor how it’s some disappointment.

    Well, unless you mean the bit about how they aren’t that hot chick. That was kinda disappointing.

  9. @Neviril: “Well, unless you mean the bit about how they aren’t that hot chick. That was kinda disappointing.”

    What else could I have possibly been referring to? ^^

  10. Heh, I had never even heard of this blog until this article, so yeah, I guess that there is no such thing as bad publicity.

    I always just went to Banana Shoulders for my holy pally infoz.

  11. I think that regardless of who Ferraro really is, they are still a great resource for paladins. It is disappointing to see them tarnished though. I guess I think I’m ok with it right now…

  12. As long as the paladin content is truthful and solid….

    The problem is…. the non-paladin content was not truthful or solid. The person posting as Ferraro took content from other tech. blogs and posted it as if it were their own “personal life” stories. “Look at this funny idea for apple gadget” was not Ferraro’s post, but she fed it to you and you trusted her. “Look at this cute tag on my luggage” was not Ferraro’s post, but she fed it to you and you trusted her.

    I wouldn’t really care if a paladin blog had ghost-writers. But I do care if its author is manipulative, deceitful, and a liar.

  13. Starburn says:

    Thanks for the link Matt. I still think WoW-Insider need to look at their approach though. For example:

    “It’s a shame things have turned out about this. Lisa Poisso gave Ferarro multiple opportunities to clarify, refute, and expand upon things in the article, and Ferarro never took her up on those opportunities. In particular the photos were directly questioned, and Ferarro brushed aside questions concerning them.”

    If the interviewee is brushing aside these things, maybe there’s something that needs to be questioned there.

    A topic I find interesting, that tension between blogging and journalism. A site like WoW-Insider seems to be almost stepping over into the journalism camp, hence my concern at their rigour.

  14. @Starburn: Eh, not really. I think they wouldn’t have paid much attention to it. Comments recently in the past few days on various unrelated WoW.com articles kept asking about Ferarro even though posts themselves had nothing to do with it.

    In the end, Wow.com is just another blog. Yeah it’s going to feature news, but there’s lots of opinion pieces and other fun stuff (Breakfast topics, movie watches, etc)

  15. cringer says:

    opinion: ferraro is actually a geeky wannabe get-rich-quick blogger enthuisiast and thought that if he posted useful information behind the image of a hot chick that he would have a flock of teenage boys following his blog along with providing useful information to the not so hormone infused group of readers.

    either way, good job at keeping the image going that long.

    sidenote: i find it sort of weird that WoW.com would post a story saying that they tracked the IP addresses of Ferraro and that all connections came from the same region. if this was at all true and she did have an actual stalker, that wouldn’t be helping it much.

  16. At this point, I have to say that while I’m curious about the identity – even if it was written under false name(s) – the information is still solid, and the writeups are still worth reading. Even if no future posts go up, it will still be a good resource.

    Adgamorixs last blog post..Knowing when you’ve been beaten

  17. @Adgamorix: That’s what I was thinking, too. I mean, I understand the need for credibility in authorship, but if the information is solid and the posts are entertaining to read, I don’t care if it was a syndicate of gold farmers hosting the blog. The reason to read the blog hasn’t changed. I don’t see why it really even matters. The information is still great, and the site is entertaining.

    There are few times when an artist or author (*cough Kanye West cough cough*) has a personality flaw large enough to make me discount talent or utility.

    Beejs last blog post..Hero Hating

  18. “As long as the paladin content is truthful and solid….
    The problem is…. the non-paladin content was not truthful or solid.”

    I think Jacob summed up my sentiments pretty well.

    It doesn’t matter how good you are. There’s no substitution for integrity and honesty even in something as petty as wow blog.

    jongs last blog post..lol @ Ferarro

  19. I’m not quite sure what to think now. I guess I’m feeling ambivalent about the whole thing. Haven’t quite sorted out my thoughts yet.

  20. lotharn says:

    I don’t understand. If the content was valid for the last few years, why does this discovery negate the worth of the content? I’ve never read the blog, I don’t have a paladin, but I don’t see how the truth about the authors (which has taken on the startling reality of a gutter press witch hunt) changes anything that has been written

  21. The content on Paladin Schmaladin is fine, and I love the style — very enjoyable reading material. The problem is you have someone (or several someone’s) who have been blatantly using somebody else’s image and misrepresenting both themselves and Sarah Townsend. No harm may have been done to Sarah Townsend (indeed, I bet her blog picks up a lot of curisosity seekers from the WoW community) but that doesn’t make it right.

    jeffos last blog post..My Secret Identity

  22. The guides “Ferraro” posted for playing a paladin are still accurate. The author’s identity colors perception, but the WoW-related content has not changed.

    I still link there for Maintankadin’s off-spec guide links and will continue to do so until the posts are killed or the blog privatized for good.

  23. Apoptygmaa says:

    Interesting read. Thanks for the head’s-up, Matticus#3!

    Apoptygmaas last blog post..Druids training complete

  24. I personally won’t be reading her blog anymore. I thought the paladin content was great – but I can get my paladin content elsewhere, from a blog that doesn’t make me wonder what’s true and what’s not. Ultimately, I don’t care WHO writes her content (guy, girl, old, young, etc) – but I do care that she 1. stole someone’s identity, 2. stole someone else’s content, and 3. made up a complete life that was a lie based on photos that she stole from this Sarah Townsend: “This is me and my family on vacation. We had fun!” type of photos. “Look at this pet bird that my step-brother got me that’s sitting on my shoulder!” type of photos. It’s not her bird; it’s not her family. She stole the photos and made a story out of them. That’s just SICK.

    Avernas last blog post..Paladin Schmaladin, indeed.

  25. I understand the legal nature of the things that were done wrong in this incident, but those things should be dealt with by the offending parties, and the victim. They’re not anybody else’s business… and.. maybe the person who was silly enough to have her photographs stolen will learn how to watermark. 🙂

    I really am stuck with one question in my mind though! Is all the fuss about this related to what actually HAPPENED, or is it just all because of the fact that there are thousands of little boys who are very disappointed about this due to the fact that they only visited the paladin site for the pictures (you KNOW who you are) and can’t fantasize about women playing wow?

    I am a female wow player. If there’s one thing I know about women who play wow, it’s that they don’t flaunt the fact that they are female. It causes more problems then it is worth. First and foremost, somehow boys think it’s okay to assume female wow players aren’t talented (I have run into many on both my servers) and secondly, if they’re not ignorant to our talent, they are swooning. I don’t get it.

    Regardless, if it isn’t your life, keep your nose out of it? Probably the best advice you’ll ever find.

  26. Who cares? The information on the site wasn’t anything ground breaking. The only reason anyone is even paying attention to this is b/c Ferarro was a “she” and not a “he”.

    Vaporis last blog post..Fragment #4 + Conquerer’s Aegis Headpiece

  27. I’m totally underwhelmed.

    Anelfs last blog post..Hunter Bag of Tricks – No. 3 – Feign Death

  28. I’m taken aback by a lot of these negative responses to this news. Does nobody care that Ferarro lied? Is no one perturbed that a person was stalked another person and assuming her identity for a whole five years?

    Yes, Ferarro’s blog was a good source of paladin information and guides, and regardless of the truth, that won’t change. But maybe I’m just a little too naive to assume people who divulge so many details of their lives would actually be telling the truth?

    Not to mention, it’s deeply disturbing that he/she/whatever felt compelled to pretend at being someone else. I can understand keeping personal details on the internet to a minimum, but when someone pretends to be someone else, I tend to believe she/he has some severe character growth to work on. I find it hard to respect any adult who can’t accept his/herself fully, the bad with the good.

    My mind’s still reeling over this all. If you don’t trust people on the internet with your identity, fine, but don’t stalk some poor innocent person and pretend his/her life is your own. That’s just ridiculously sad.

  29. For those who have tuned into this discussion late, if anyone has a link to the content of the now-unreachable Catharsis post, I for one would be very interested 🙂

    I am who I am. I have better things to do in acting someone that I am not. I don’t make too many personal comments in my blog, but anything I make, I make as myself. Its easier on the memory 😉

    Saunders last blog post..We interrupt this Broadcast…

  30. I don’t think it’s a matter of the fact that lies were told. People lie every day. To your face. Many times.

    I think people who assume that humans are naturally positive, and do-gooding have missed what’s been going on in society as of late.. and by ‘as of late’ what I really mean is in the last… 50 or more years. Your government lies to you. Your friends lie to you, your parents lie to you, and it’s possible that your significant other(s) also lie to you.

    I understand the ‘impact’ this revelation has on the blogging community, but to be honest, blogs should be about the content, and not the photographs and personal information that may or may not be available.

    As I wrote beforehand, the only reason there is so much interest in this incident is because of the simple fact that there are a lot of male players who are feeling disgusted with themselves for swooning over pictures of a young woman they think is attractive, only to be disappointed because the words they have been following religiously with the thought that this ‘woman’ is posting them and she’s amazing looking, was really posted by.. a man? Maybe a woman they find less attractive? Whatever. Zip your pants up, go clean the cheetos stains, come back.. and play the game for the game…. please…. we could use more people interested in the game. and less people interested in the cybering… I get enough horrifying whispers when people hear me on vent about how sexy I sound to want to buy a voice manipulator for my microphone.. really… just… lay off.

  31. @Nepharius: I guess for the readers, you know, it doesn’t make that much of a difference. Good information is good information no matter what the source is.

    From a blogger perspective, however. I know it’s a different person. But it still does reflect on all of us. It has an impact on bloggers because hey, if you can’t trust what this blogger is saying, who’s to say that the other bloggers aren’t authentic? I don’t know. I take things too personally sometimes.

  32. That is ridiculous. So i’m curious…. A. Unattractive girl who wanted cute pictures and a lifestyle to go with it or B. Unattractive boy who wanted cute pictures and a lifestyle to go with it.

    Sedgewicks last blog post..Officers. Who Needs Em?

  33. For anyone who might care (and ideally to edit into the original post 😉 )

    The Holy Light has a post that includes the full text of the (now-deleted) Catharsis post

    Saunders last blog post..We interrupt this Broadcast…

  34. @ Matt, yes, but does anybody take anything they read on the internet for more then a grain of salt, to use an old cliche? As far as information being posted about a video game, the numbers speak for themselves, quite obviously.

    People read what YOU write because it’s informative, well written, well put together, and sometimes even touching. There are many articles that you’ve written that by the end of it I’m flabbergasted, and immediately link them to friends I know would also feel the same. You’re just good at what you do here. They don’t read your blog to follow your personal life.

    As has been said beforehand by a number of different people, the information regarding the video game was positive, and proven so by the game itself. The rest of it should be taken at what it is… mindless text.

    I’m sorry but it’s true. Unless you know the person whose content you are reading face to face, there is no possible way to develop trust. Not through text. Never, no matter how much the internet, or technology advances.

    Bear in mind this is totally just my opinion, and I welcome flames just as much as I welcome positive conversation on the topic. I strongly believe however, that anything you find on the internet that can’t be proven with facts you are aware of yourself outside of what you’ve read there, are going to be a lie unless proven factual. Guilty until proven innocent, if you will. You’re fooling yourselves if you automatically assume otherwise. 🙁

    The difference between this blog and the one that is so controversial is that people come here to read your opinion, your strategies, your banter, etc… and they enjoy it.. at least I do… because sometimes it’s enlightening (see post about being the best healer that used the golf reference) and sometimes it’s downright touching (see recent post about social aspects of wow). The complete opposite can be said about the other blog in question. People went there for the strategy… but also for the pictures.. because children are fickle and shallow people… I’m sorry but it’s true… at least SOME of them went for the pictures. It is not the lies that hold this blog controversy in such high attention, the internet IS lies. It’s the disappointment about photographs.

    Get over it. Move on people.

  35. @ Nepharius
    Not everyone is upset because the pictures were a lie. Some are, sure, possibly most. I was one of the few who stayed away from the blog because I didn’t want to see the pictures. I’m all for blogs showing personality, but I felt like I was looking at someone’s myspace the entire time. Nothing is more irritating than some young female desperate for attention.

    Am I a little naive because I’m disappointed the guilty person was a fellow blogger? Absolutely. I guess I just expect a little more. Lying is one thing; stalking and stealing another person’s identity for five years is just grossly pathetic.


  1. […] the end, it’s all just a bunch of he said, she said.  And I agree with Matticus, make up your own mind with the given evidence.  I just felt the need to put out my opinion on the […]

  2. […] Matticus has made a post detailing the oddities of stealing someone else’s identity, and how to use critical thinking to come up with your own conclusion for things. […]

  3. […] Disappointment for Paladins and About Trust […]

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