It wasn’t just RIOC President/CEO Shelton J. Haynes’s worst promotion. It might have been the worst published of all time. For anybody. But now it’s gone, abruptly discarded after only a week on the City & State website.
(UPDATE, February 21st, 2023: Following the publication of this article, someone decided to reincarnate the City & State article. It was a bad idea because the genius never corrected the errors.)
by David Stone
The Roosevelt Island Daily News
“Dear Governor Hochul: Please put a gag order on this crap, too,” we wrote in an article last week.
Hochul, in managing RIOC, hobbled Haynes with gag orders, especially after Haynes’s bungled attack on the MTA over OMNY for the Tram.
But it would take a Haynes-size ego to assume that the governor honored our request. Hochul, after all, has shown that she couldn’t care less about the fate of Roosevelt Island.
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But she does care about image, and since RIOC and Haynes belong to her, the so-bad-it’s-funny Haynes’s worst promotion was just too much.
Because it was so prominent, the article’s headline was the worst:
Roosevelt Island: A Hidden Gem Nestled Between Queens & New York City At the Helm of the State Ran Agency is President & CEO Shelton J. Haynes.
Try unpacking that punctuation-light, illiterate word salad.
Unimaginably bad as that was, there was a close runner-up:
“At almost every corner of the Island, visitors and residents alike will be met with historical anecdotes that will leave many thinking about times when President Roosevelt delivered a speech in Four Freedoms Park…”
President Roosevelt died 67 years before the park opened.
But Where Did Shelton J. Haynes’s Worst Promotion Come From?
Because there is no byline and City & State’s editors disclaimed any involvement apart from selling the space for a “sponsored post, the jury’s still out on this one. But we have a couple of candidates.
Some creativity was necessary because no one person could come up with anything so rotten unaided.
One: Translation Software
One reader suggested that the article was written in another language, then fed into one of the translation programs online that spit it out in English. That would account for the crippled literacy and lack of syntax.
Full disclosure: I tried that in communicating with a Japanese business associate. I thought I’d impress him with my language skills, but he laughed out loud. “Your Japanese,” he told me, “is maybe as good as my English.”
But I’m not sure that can explain Franklin Delano Roosevelt speaking in FDR Four Freedoms State Park 67 years after his death and more than 50 years before it opened.
Badly implemented AI Software
My favored explanation for Haynes’s worst promotion is Artificial Intelligence. Some AI platforms, like Jasper, are well-developed and unlikely to pump out raw verbal sewage like the City & State sponsored post.
But as in all kinds of implementation, there are cheap versions worth every penny they don’t charge.
What happens is this. The computer program takes whatever you give them and imaginatively fills in the blanks where information is scanty. Don’t blame the computer, though. Even the best programs make clear that editing is required, especially around the factual output.
RIOC’s deep thinkers skipped that need. Maybe it was too much work.
Whatever the cause, the results were so bad that the article survived only one week online. Then, it vanished into a 404 Not Found Error junkyard.