I know what you mean, internet-wise. It happens everywhere, it's the law of the internet. We talk about people from a distance, of course we're not 100% polite all the time, and of course we talk openly about things we're not happy with, and we speculate, and rumours circulate and mild resentment has a tendency to boil like a bad smell. I get that, it's fine, it's fair, it's inevitable. And if it wasn't Mike it would've been someone else. Hell, it was Jordan Rudess for several years. While I completely understand the culture I don't think that's carte blanche to bite repeatedly at a hand that fed you pretty sumptuously for 20 years.
Like Scotty - I've been frequently... agog, following some of Mike's less graceful outbursts. I don't currently follow him on Twitter, I don't post on his message board... I wish him all the best, love Flying Colors to bits, and while I don't always like it I completely understand why he's not always in St. Michael of Berklee mode right now. Man's had a lot of rugs pulled out from under him in quick succession, it takes a while to pick yourself up.
I think there's an element of awareness. We know he reads the boards. He spends hours upon hours in tour buses with the world of electronic media at his disposal, of course his eye's going to occasionally drift to the biggest online community dedicated to his band of twenty-five years. And I wouldn't even ask that anyone mince words. Feel free to call him out on things he's actually done - I remember when Mike was posting around here, you, Kev, for instance, you were very firm but very polite and respectful and had a very cool, frank chat with him. You both came off well, think it did you both a lot of good. That's what I really like about DTF - we do have full discussions about all aspects of the band for better or for worse. There's no subject that's off limits - if someone really fucking hates Scenes from a Memory, they can make a thread about it, and we'll spend the next two weeks chucking pros and cons at each other. That, quite rightly, includes the behaviour and demeanour of members, ex-members, Kevin Moore, John Petrucci - David Bleeding Prater! It's good. Tip top. Keep it up.
What I don't like, though, is when stuff gets regurgitated. When we start making things up. You can see it mutating. "He could've spared a bit more thought for James LaBrie, there" becomes, in the light of a departure, "Mike was a bit rude to James LaBrie, releasing that," which is remembered two months later as "That's a fucking spiteful thing to do," and then another two months later someone remembers the comment, completely innocuous but covered in barbs, as "Oh yeah, the 98 show, that's the one Mike released to piss off JLB yeah?"
It's just worth remembering these are humans you're talking about, and they read this, they're interested in what you have to say - and that once they shut the laptop down they won't always be able to turn your comments off. I'm sure a lot of the natter would remain exactly the same, and the website's all the better for it, but I find speculation a little crass, and we're at the point where Mike Portnoy's all but been assigned an ulterior motive for releasing a show that he'll have plunged hours into finding for the fans, mastering, and writing liner notes, all for precious little profit. Do talk freely, but we're at the stage where we're not only seeing rumours tossed around, but a basically nice act is slowly being rewritten into a basically spiteful one simply, I presume, because we're a little low on any other ammo. Which is nobody's fault, and nobody's doing it consciously... but I'll admit to being fairly uncomfortable with the direction, and I'm very glad Scotty's spoken up cos I was thinking "Is there something I'm not quite getting, here?"
I'm glad we're on a site where a thread like this can exist, but... come on, guys. This is another person we're talking about. And one who, regardless of how you might see the last two years or so, has spent a lot of time trying to make us happy. You know he cares what we think - let's not talk about him like he's some sort of comic book villain.