Saturday, July 3, 2010

He survived the vuvuzelas, but the Netizens did him in

The coach of ROK's national soccer team, Huh Jung-moo, has decided not to seek a second term, citing the malicious behavior of South Korean netizens.

From AFP:
"My family members suffered a lot … I want to have time to recharge myself and spend some time with my family," said Huh whose 30-month coaching contract expires with the end of the World Cup.

The Korea Football Association Chairman Cho Chung-Yun said earlier he had wanted Huh to remain in the job after he successfully guided South Korea through to the final 16 where they were eliminated by Uruguay.

It was South Korea's best performance at any World Cup finals held on foreign soil.

In the group stages South Korea beat Greece 2-0 but suffered a crushing 4-1 defeat to Argentina, which sparked a barrage of cyber attacks on the coach notably over his decision to shuffle his defenders by bringing on Oh Beom-Seok for Cha Du-Ri.

Cha performed well in the match with Greece but Oh made some decisive errors, contributing to Argentina's overwhelming victory.
He is the one in the public eye, but apparently it was his wife who was targeted and got tired of the abuse:
Huh's wife, Choi Mi-Na, told the Chosun Daily that she and their children had been deeply wounded by hurtful Internet postings.

"I told him he should quit … The coach and all my family members have been hurt enough," she said.
Been there, done that (on the receiving end). It's one thing when it's only directed at you (which is bad enough, especially when people are going after your safety, your job, or your public reputation), but when they aim for your spouse and kids or other family members, that's a completely different animal.

Why can't the get-a-life super comment tribe netizens do something more productive and less malicious, like focus on Paraguay's "Number-one fan," Larissa Riquelme.


  1. Maybe it's because I haven't been on the receiving end of an internet verbal abuse attack, but I'm wondering why so many people have to care so much about what is said on the internet via anonymous postings? Remember, most of these comments are probably written by people under 15 years old. The percentage that these negative insults represent are probably very small compared to the positive opinions people have (in this case, pertaining to Korea's coach). But when you feel positive about something, you usually don't go on the internet to praise. For example, I'm usually more inclinded to log onto when I want to complain about a restaurant. But if I had a good experience, I usually won't take the time to go on there to give them a positive review (which I should do, I know). Anyways, I felt the coach did a very good job and ultimately, the players needed to step it up to win the games.

  2. Well, having been on the receiving end, I can tell you that some people take it further than just insults. Some people will try to use numbers to go after your job, some will try to contact your work or your school, etc. On two separate occasions I had (a) an Korean-American and a White American essentially trying to get me fired from my job, and (b) a White American trying to get my scholarship yanked. And these weren't pimply teenagers; they were adults with jobs. Respectable jobs even.

    And they're fighting somewhat from a position of anonymity while taking advantage of the numbers on their side (they will always have a greater number than just you), so it's almost always a losing battle if you fight. I long ago realized the best thing to do, especially when the battle goes public, is to just not engage. Those that know you will support you, though you might have some explaining to do about why those people do what they're doing, especially when they take something you've written out of context (I made that very point in relation to Metropolitician).

    In the coach's case, everyone can see his mistakes and his successes from the tape, but with other situations the negative accusations can seem more believable, so keeping quiet carries its own risks: the "his silence is deafening" crowd will see your unwillingness to respond as an admission of guilt, even when it's far from it.

    But I'm venting now. In this case, I can easily imagine that, like the Australian judge whose home was taken from Google Maps and plastered around the Internet, there may be a real feeling of being physically threatened in the real world. I don't know how obnoxious those Netizens got toward the coach's family, but even just a little bit of it can feel too close to home.

  3. I forgot to mention in that comment that that everyone should read this post at Marmot's Hole for an important clue into who and what is driving the "Netizen" opinion.

    Actually, I had an inkling of this even before that 2006 post, but even I wasn't expecting the numbers to be so stark:

    During that period, 41,944,832 people visited Naver News. Of these, 350,545, or 0.84 percent, left at least one comment. This means that less than one person in a 100 who read a piece of news leaves a comment. And of those that left comments, the 11,878 members of the “Super-Comment Tribe,” who write on average over 70 comments a month, left 2,212,813 of the 4,373,306 comments that were left during the 10-day period. In other words, they were responsible for 50.6 percent of the total comments from the survey period.


Share your thoughts, but please be kind and respectful. My mom reads this blog.