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If You Can’t Say Something Nice, Put It On The Internet


I know that print media is going the way of the condor, or so I keep being told, but to me there’s nothing better than a nice quiet morning and a newspaper to rifle through. Well, okay, there are a lot of better things than that, namely a “nice quiet morning,” but I digress. I just don’t find reading newspapers online as appealing.

Partially it’s the site design. It’s like being fucked in the eye with all the blinky-glary-picture stuff being thrust into my eyes, and partially because I am a crotchety old person who doesn’t quite like to navigate through the clunky pages. I find it far less appealing, but I suppose I’ll have to get used to it.

What fascinates me the most is not the articles–no–what I find amazing is the way that John (or Jane) Q. Public reacts to them. Because now most of the stories come complete with a nifty comment box. And we all know that comment boxes + anonymity = assbags.

Newspapers seem to bear a good deal of the burden of this, often bringing out the loud and the stupid (why do they so often go hand in hand?) (I say this ironically. I am, after all, the person that posts something nearly every day here), and I have a field day reading it. The infighting and the general moral superiority to all other commenters just makes me giggle, seriously, if you want a good laugh, grab a bag of popcorn and pop open the comments box at the end of an article.

So as not to elicit the hatorade from the particular article I was just plowing through, I’ll spare you the linkage. This particular article was followed by the commenters ripping into each other about the nefarious use of Tylenol in schools. Apparently–according to some–Tylenol is a fucking gateway drug. Bwahahahaha! No, seriously. Someone thinks this. Several someones.

(Completely unrelated, but related: if they do manage to ban Vicodin, I am moving to the moon)

Blogs get it too, of course, as you have no doubt noticed, although it seems more muted on one hand and more personal and horrible on the other. Less infighting and more personal attacks.

The more readers your blog gets, the more expectations are placed upon the author. The greater the expectations, the greater the let down when the blogger has a particularly bad day or bad week and isn’t writing up to par. This is one of many things–like how a simple non-platinum coated front door can cost hundreds of dollars–I don’t understand.

Okay, I get the part where no one likes a whiny, cry-baby, because shit people, you may be complaining about your cock-bag ex-boyfriend while other people in the world don’t have access to clean drinking water! Or adequate health care! How dare you complain when some people have no legs! NO LEGS, Aunt Becky, you horrible bitch!

Perhaps they do not know I find “bitch” to be a term of endearment.

Before you accuse me of moral superiority (which, hahahaha! Just TRY and make that charge stick), trust me when I tell you that I have read posts on a couple different bigger blogs that have made me see red. It’s all I can do to not scroll down to the nifty comment box and pop in some awful, trite, I’m going to come here and rip you a new poo hole because you fucking suck crap. I’ve always managed to stop myself, close the window out and carefully unsubscribe.

The Internet needs more hatorade like I need someone to drill into my skull and pour cherry Jello inside. I mean, what does coming over to spew nastiness about actually accomplish? A feeling of moral superiority? You want moral superiority, go turn on Maury. Or Jerry Springer. Trust me, a half an hour of that should make you feel like a king among men. You’ll be patting yourself on the back for your decided lack of recessive genes and your amazingly normal family for weeks.

As bloggers, we put ourselves out there and invite you in to come see what we have to say. We dust off the Welcome Mat and offer you a tasty beverage while complimenting how amazing your ass looks in those pants (have you lost weight? You look amazing!). But do we have a right to be angry when you spit in our lemonade and throw eggs at our door?

Considering you get exactly what you pay for when you click to a new blog (think a sea of gigantic zeros as far as the eye can see), do you have a right to be cruel when you don’t get what you want? Or what you think you deserve?

I’m asking you, honestly. My friend Trish wrote this about authors handling negative reviews, and I’ve been rolling this around in my brain since then. How should bloggers handle it presuming a) they are not making money from said blog and b) they hadn’t asked for the negativity?

posted under Cheaper Than Rehab
68 Comments to

“If You Can’t Say Something Nice, Put It On The Internet”

  1. On July 9th, 2009 at 2:09 am Valuable Internet Information » If You Can’t Say Something Nice, Put It On The Internet Says:

    […] See the original post here:  If You Can’t Say Something Nice, Put It On The Internet […]

  2. On July 9th, 2009 at 5:06 am SciFi Dad Says:

    Just getting here now, so I never knew about your previous cryptic post.

    I’m no armchair psychologist, but it sounds like someone left you a pretty nasty anonymous comment. The only assvice I can offer is “DON’T FEED THE TROLLS!”

    They’re like seagulls: if you feed them, they come back, and there’s laws preventing you from shooting them, even if they deserve it.

  3. On July 9th, 2009 at 6:15 am Your Aunt Becky Says:

    Sci-Fi, actually no. Just wondering about all of this stuff. The mentality is fascinating to me.

  4. On July 9th, 2009 at 5:15 am Nina Says:

    I guess your posts are thought provoking enough, for people to want to share their opinion… And they don’t necessarily should agree with you, right? Mean posts, on the other hand, are unacceptable and should be deleted without much hesitation. (Note to Daver: yes, I’m a foreigner, so my English is broken. Sorry about that.)

  5. On July 9th, 2009 at 6:16 am Your Aunt Becky Says:

    Nina, your English is better than mine.

  6. On July 9th, 2009 at 5:22 am Nina Says:

    I meant to refer to “mean comments” not “mean posts.” Thanks.

  7. On July 9th, 2009 at 5:29 am DG at Diaryofamadbathroom Says:

    There are people out there that are simply miserable and are looking to share their misery with anyone that gives them an outlet. A blog or an online article is an open invitation for loonatics, and I don’t think there’s much we can do about it. When these type of people don’t have an internet outlet for their bile then they torture waiters and waitresses at restuarants, throw a bitch fit over pvc fencing at the homeowners assoc meeting or argue for 40 minutes at the grocery store over whether an expired .20 coupon for beans should be honored. I see them all the time and they make me want to cringe. F them. They have to endure their poisonous selves until they die.

  8. On July 9th, 2009 at 6:33 am Ms. Moon Says:

    I think Dooce actually makes entire posts out of her best trollish comments with extremely heartfelt comments of her own to go with them.
    Maybe if you did the same, it would make your heart feel cleansed, your soul all happy. Plus, it would be a great post!

  9. On July 9th, 2009 at 6:43 am Badass Geek Says:

    Fuck ’em all, is what I say. If they aren’t going to take the time to understand where you’re coming from before spouting off, then fuck ’em.

  10. On July 9th, 2009 at 5:48 am Betty M Says:

    Ignore the trolls – they will get bored and go and take their bile elsewhere.
    Ignore online news commenters too. The BBC at least confines them to their own Have your say section and there is even a blog devoted to the best examples of crass idiocy from that section.
    There is a place for critiscm of a blogger it just needs to be rational, thought through and not shouty stupidity. Nothing worse than a popular blogger setting the dogs on someone who simply didn’t agree with them in the comments and the blogger’s loyal followers acting like a lynch mob (not referring to you obviously but I’ve seen plenty of others).

  11. On July 9th, 2009 at 7:14 am Daddy Files Says:

    First of all, as a newspaper journalist I thank you for your support and your general disdain for reading your news online. Keep getting inky fingers.

    And I agree with you about the online comments following the story. They’re horrible. I wish to God we’d either eliminate them or require people to use their real names. Some of the things that are said are horrible.

    Case in point I have a story in today’s paper about a cop who beat up a man who may have been sleeping with his wife. Gave him 37 stitches to the face. Know what some people are saying?

    “He deserved it.”
    “She’s lucky she didn’t get a beating.”
    “You don’t take another man’s property.”

    Makes me want to jump off a bridge.

  12. On July 9th, 2009 at 6:29 am Inna Says:

    I always wondered about these trolls too. If you disagree with the author why write a comment without a valid email address or blog (if they even have one). Why write something nasty if you can’t stand up for it afterwards? Why write it at all? And yet, I sometimes wonder if some people do it just to be funny.

    As for the link about author reviews you sent us to, I think authors should be very open minded when reading reviews. Most of them aren’t completely nasty mostly because the reviewers can’t hide in anonymity. And reviewers are entitled to their opinions just like the authors were entitled to their opinion when they wrote the book.

  13. On July 9th, 2009 at 6:29 am Lippy Says:

    Oh, our local newspaper comment section drives me crazy. I tend to take it personally, with the economy much has been written about public employees and how horribly stupid and greedy we are. (I’m a teacher, so yes to both stupid and greedy) So if I read the online version I spend the rest of the day arguing with people in my head. Bad idea! As for blogs, I just don’t understand people making cruel comments. It is certainly acceptable to respectfully to give a different viewpoint. I know I have read comments that make me rethink some of my views. But some people are clearly trying to start something. I think DG is correct and these are the same people who chew out the high school cashier because something didn’t ring up at the sale price. Those folks should be ignored like the little brother who keeps poking you on a long trip.

  14. On July 9th, 2009 at 6:44 am a Says:

    While it is always enthralling to watch the train wreck that responding to trolls creates, I don’t know how it benefits anyone. The troll probably gets some satisfaction from getting attention and knowing that he/she got under someone’s skin. The blog author may get some satisfaction from having his/her say.

    I do think there’s a difference between those who genuinely disagree with a writer’s POV and those who just come to try to be hurtful.

    I also enjoy reading the comments on news stories- it’s like looking through a window to the abnormal psych world. The only people who used to get to enjoy this sort of thing were journalists who screened the letters to the editor.

    As far as Trish’s article…I guess I expect published authors to be a little bit professional. I know that writing is a very personal thing, but if you are doing well enough to get your work reviewed by someone, you move into a little different sphere. Don’t think I’ll be reading any more of Alice Hoffman’s work (not that I really like it anyway).

  15. On July 9th, 2009 at 6:49 am Stacey@Havoc&Mayhem Says:

    Some people only feel good about themselves when they tear other people down. I don’t let them in my real life except when they absolutely cannot be avoided & I feel the same on my blog. My blog, my rules. I don’t feel like reading the hating, so I delete it & move on, ignoring that it was there. Valid criticism & discussion of opposing views is one thing, but neither one begins “fuck off loser” or “You dumb bitch”, etc. It’s fairly easy to see the difference & I have no problem getting rid of the abuse

  16. On July 9th, 2009 at 6:51 am Stacey@Havoc&Mayhem Says:

    hhmmm… my post didn’t go through…

    to summarize. I delete the abusive ones. I don’t mind discussion of opposing views but it’s my blog & I don’t put up with stuff there that I won’t put up with in real life.

  17. On July 9th, 2009 at 7:13 am heather Says:

    I say, embrace the trolls. What would life be without the assholes of the world? Ha.
    I prefer to read my daily news online merely because I’m already paying for the internet, why pay for a newspaper too? Although the coupons are nice….

  18. On July 9th, 2009 at 7:19 am kbrients Says:

    I don’t get any trolls around my parts, but I don’t really post anything to opinionated either. If I did, I would welcome the oposition of views anyday… how f’ing boring would life be without trolls?

  19. On July 9th, 2009 at 7:55 am Crystal Says:

    Maybe that’s why my dad loves Jerry Springer. Seriously. The man tapes it (he’s still living in the 90’s, apparently, with VHS tapes) so he can watch it later.

    The newspaper online is a lot more convenient. That’s my only reason. For the most part, an actual hand-held newspaper is much easier to navigate.

  20. On July 9th, 2009 at 7:59 am Katy Says:

    Interesting post. An old friend from H.S. has actually developed a program that will read comments and rate them for abuse. It goes beyond the auto sensor for foul language, etc:

    As a musician I have to deal with critics every time we have a concert. If I have a bad day at work and it happens to be the day of a concert and I happen to have a solo, my mistakes are witnessed by hundreds of people and written up in the newspaper. That’s just part of the job. A few of my colleagues have gone off the deep end over things the critics have written and nothing good ever comes of that. It’s best to take the comments with a grain of salt and move on. Who knows? Maybe the critic was having an off day too. When our previous conductor left we had a party for him complete with a pinata in the shape of our main newspaper critic. I admit it was pretty satisfying to take a few swings at him…

    The thing about blog trolls / anonymous commenters is that you will never get them to see your side of things. Even if you agreed with them and swung around to their point of view they wouldn’t be happy. Their whole purpose is to spew bile. I am the (paid) blogger for the symphony and this spring everyone had their pants in a wad because of some anonymous comments on a newspaper article about county funding for the orchestra. The trolls were outraged that the county was alocating money for “rich ppl’s snooty entertainment.” They demanded that if the county was going to fund the symphony then they should also fund wrestling tournaments. Personally, I thought a great solution would be to combine the two activities. Either a ring-side string quartet or having two musicians go at it in a no-holds-barred cage match during intermission. What the trolls didn’t understand, and didn’t care to understand, is that the county $$ we get is used for free educational programs. For THEIR children and sick relatives. Symphony staff were really upset about this and wanted to respond. Instead we used our own forum (my blog) to address the issues.

  21. On July 9th, 2009 at 9:05 am Merritt Says:

    Admittedly, I don’t have any trolls. I don’t get all that many comments, and when I do, they’ve all been positive, so obviously I can’t comment from a “it’s happened to me” view point. What I can say is, as a reader of many, many blogs, I don’t EVER (nor would I ever) bitch at someone for having a bad day, not writing the way they usually do, pretty much, I use the old standby, if you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say anything at all. I think it’s too bad that everyone doesn’t use that mantra. As a writer, I’d like to think that I could let nasty comments go, and not let them bother me, but obviously that’s easier said than done. I think though, I’m way more of a bitch than they are a troll, so maybe it comes down to personality. I don’t really don’t know. It’s an interesting topic for sure.

  22. On July 9th, 2009 at 8:09 am Katy Says:

    : ( another comment eaten by cyberspace. Oh well.

    A troll’s purpose in cyberspace is to be angry. They wouldn’t be happy even if you told them they were right.

    IRL book authors need to get a grip. Dealing with critics is part of the job. I deal with critics every time we have a concert, so every single week. Sometimes it’s flatering, sometimes it’s not. It’s just part of the job! Critics have bad days too, as well as personal bias. It is their job to be critical of your work (and by your I mean the universal your. Not aiming this at you, Aunt B…) Sometimes it feels like a personal attack, but it’s NOT.

    An old friend from HS has developed a program that will rate comments for hostility. It goes beyond the usual censoring for foul language:

  23. On July 9th, 2009 at 8:29 am choosy Says:

    I do think you put yourself out there when you, well, put yourself out there. And while there are of course actually people whose job it is to critique a book, at least bloggers are spared that. For now.

    Having said that. I hate conflict and so I don’t comment anything hateful.

    I have however tried to respectfully comment a dissenting opinion and that has usually been well received, or ignored. Both reactions I agree with wholeheartedly.

    I am always up for a spirited debate, but name calling and hate-spewing just doesn’t have a place in the world.

    As I tell me son: If you can’t be nice, be quiet.

    And I think that can apply to comments that don’t agree, or don’t approve, etc. And I think it should.

  24. On July 9th, 2009 at 8:31 am Kristin Says:

    As long as someone isn’t truly nasty, I can ignore a negative comment or critique. However, if a comment crosses the line and gets nasty, I hit delete.

  25. On July 9th, 2009 at 9:19 am Tracy Says:

    I’m not going to go into a big huge long comment. Just wanna say Mean People are everywhere, even outside the interwebz, and mean people suck 😀 Ignore it and move on!! We <3 Aunt Becky!

  26. On July 9th, 2009 at 10:29 am Kristina Says:

    I think that when anyone gets a particularly nasty comment, the best thing to do is make light of it. Make fun of it, post it everywhere, delete it, whatever you have to do. People like that are miserable, and nothing pisses them off more than when their comments don’t create a huge reaction or hurt someone’s feelings. If they don’t get the reaction they want, I think they’ll move on.

  27. On July 9th, 2009 at 9:43 am Employee No. 3699 Says:

    I don’t have any trolls, or gnomes for that matter.

    When I read a post and don’t agree, or see eye to eye with the author I move on without commenting. My mother always told me, “If you can’t say something nice, then don’t say anything at all.”

  28. On July 9th, 2009 at 10:11 am Creepy Mommy Says:

    I will admit this, there is one blog I read and I think the author is a total bitch, yet I keep going back. Never have I left her a trollish comment, anonymous or otherwise. She’s allowed to write whatever she wants, I don’t *have* to read it, no one’s twisting my arm, I just like to get my panties in a bunch, but I would never, ever lay some shit in her comments section. Can you say inappropriate?

    On the other hand, you write a blog, you talk about your life, people will leave dumb ass comments judging you. That’s how it works, I guess.

    Not *you* you, but you know, the blogging population in general.

  29. On July 9th, 2009 at 10:32 am Katie Says:

    I’m just always amazed at what brings the trolls out. They sure pick some weird things to grab on to. I now know if I write anything less than super pro-environment, greenies UNITE! that I am going to get some nasty comments.

    Really? The green movement? My political posts don’t even get the trolls.

    Great post, I’ve been thinking about the anonymity a lot myself recently and was thinking about posting about it as well. But then I figured I’d get ALL the trolls and I was waiting for a stronger self-esteem day to voice that opinion.

    For me, as long as the good/supportive/rational/sane comments out number the trolls or just random assholes, I’m fine with it. I take them with a grain of salt and really don’t let them bother me.

  30. On July 9th, 2009 at 11:14 am mommiebear2 Says:

    I have too passed time by reading comments on articles in the paper, its like a freak show oute there. 🙂 BTW, Thanks for stopping by.

  31. On July 9th, 2009 at 11:21 am lady lemon Says:

    “comment boxes + anonymity = assbags”

    Truer words were never spoken, AB. I think you are right, the “bigger” the blog the more chance of getting those kinds of negative, mean-spirited, pointless comments. I would venture to guess that some of it may be brought on by jealousy, and some is just general ass-hat-ery.

    Sadly, I don’t think that there is a lot that you can do, unless you want to switch your blog to private, and you I doubt that you do. Just ignore the trolls and let your readers chew them new assholes if need be. What else is a following for?

  32. On July 9th, 2009 at 11:24 am Meg Waite Clayton Says:

    >The Internet needs more hatorade like I need someone to drill into my skull and pour cherry Jello inside.

    Wonderful line, and I absolutely agree. I don’t thing the anonymity of the internet has done much for us in any way. I wonder if there isn’t a path to a kinder, gentler internet on all sides out there somewhere, that would leave us all a little happier.

  33. On July 9th, 2009 at 11:39 am mountainmomma18 Says:

    i think I do not get trolls because if I am reading a blog and the person annoys me I don’t read it anymore. I know what that little x on top of the screen is for. I mean I read people that I do not always agree with, but that is because I want some new perspective and these are not people who write things like “agree with me or you suck” kind of stuff.

    I am actually looking forward to my first troll, I think it will be fun, and at least then I will know that more than three people are reading me!

  34. On July 9th, 2009 at 1:09 pm Chris Mancini Says:

    I really think it’s just four teenagers with linked supercomputers who comment on the entire internet. Ever notice the spelling and diction on every troll post? Hmmm…

    Also, I have found the blogger’s best friend can be the “delete comment” button.

  35. On July 9th, 2009 at 12:13 pm trish Says:

    This is something I kind of struggle with. There’s the obviously crazy people who you shouldn’t engage because IT WILL NEVER END, but on the other hand, I *have* called commenters out on my blog because they accused me of things I found offensive. They were attacking ME as a person. I probably should have left it alone, but one time it allowed for some misunderstandings to be cleared up, and the other time I felt like I was standing up for my integrity. I don’t know how bloggers deal with the hateful comments. I mean, I’m a blogger but don’t get many hateful comments because my subject matter (mostly book talk) is fairly innocuous. I kind of like Dooce’s idea of printing out the comment and running it over with your car.

  36. On July 9th, 2009 at 12:40 pm Jennifer Says:

    I explained to the husband once, as to why I get upset when I get nasty comments. It’s as though you are inviting this person into your home. To thank you for the hospitality, they shit on your rug. Rude and completely inappropriate.

  37. On July 9th, 2009 at 1:53 pm Nancy Says:

    It’s very rare that I feel nasty on someone else’s blog, but when I do I just click off. I certainly don’t tell them about it, or bitch about it on my blog. I actually read that the other day, someone who was bitching about another person’s innocent and huge blog on their blog. That made me click off their blog, even though I kind of agreed with her. I cannot imagine what would possibly make someone leave you a nasty comment, though. Not in a million years. xoxo.

  38. On July 9th, 2009 at 1:56 pm Chibi Jeebs Says:

    I had one troll after feeding one on a friend’s blog, so I guessed I asked for it. Being a troll-host newb, I deleted it; I even went so far as to disable anonymous posting, but T-Roll just created a dummy LJ account to post another dumb ass comment. THEN I did the whole comment approval thing, but turned it off when I realized I wasn’t getting the email notifications and had missed a couple of comments for almost a week (never claimed to be the sharpest crayon in the box, okay?).

    Now, meh, whatever. If someone wants to disagree: go for it; however, if someone is going to be an abusive asshat, the comment will be deleted. My blog = little dictator.

  39. On July 9th, 2009 at 12:56 pm Suzy Voices Says:

    First of all, I can’t read newspapers because I hate the news AND I have a thing about touching newspaper. It makes me very eeeky.

    So, I’m a new blogger and haven’t gotten any trolls, but I just published a post about religion, so I’m kind of afraid that one of my two readers will leave me.

    I hate it when people leave negative comments. But when someone doesn’t have the balls to come out of anonymity to leave a comment, that really gets me going. If I don’t like a post, I’ll just click away from it.

    Mean people suck. As always.

  40. On July 9th, 2009 at 1:07 pm Soxy Deb Says:

    Well I’ll be honest with you. I don’t like negative comments. I don’t think any of us does, but I believe it comes with the territory. If your going to open your heart and head to the Internet, then you should expect someone(s) (shut up I can pluralize it if I want to) to disagree with you from time to time. Sometimes loudly. If that’s possible in text form.
    But for me, it stings for a bit. And then I get ove – oooh, shiny!

    It’s the anon asshats I can’t stand. Say whatevertheeff you want to me, or hell, about me, I don’t care. But have the BALLS to say it with your name attached to it. Not hiding behind the cloak of invisibility. Asshats.

  41. On July 9th, 2009 at 1:07 pm maggie, dammit Says:

    I can talk a big talk but when people say mean things I feel gutted. It’s weird how it can be 99% adoration, but we fixate on the 1% ick. I hope you aren’t feeling too sad. You sound stronger than I, and that’s good. 🙂

  42. On July 9th, 2009 at 1:14 pm nic @mybottlesup Says:

    look bitch :)~ i address my haters on my blog. if i get haters, they better watch the fuck out because i will rip then a new one in my next post. sure, some comments cut deep, and you’re right, we put ourselves “out there” without payment, under the assumption or hope that people will “get us” and what we write…

    fuck that. write. take care of you. fuck the trolls.


  43. On July 9th, 2009 at 2:24 pm lola Says:

    Well, I can’t stand reading the news online, and comment sections for news stories are just horrible! A well-known kid from our town became addicted to oxy, robbed some drug stores, which is indeed a big story for Podunk, but the comments from townie assholes, who never gave their names, of course, said the most hurtful things about him and his parents. They were a very nice, respected family in town, and yes, he did a bad thing, but the nasty comments had me in tears and almost made me vomit.

    As for blogs, I’ve wanted to leave some nasty comments at times, but what’s the point? There’s a big X up in the corner if you don’t like what someone has to say. I can’t see being mean, and it’s particularly cowardly when you’re sitting at home spewing venom over the internet.

    I’ve only had one blog fight, and that’s because the twat came to my blog and acted afool. I can’t say I’d be capable of ignoring a troll, but it’s probably the smartest move.

  44. On July 9th, 2009 at 1:30 pm Lisa Says:

    Although I love reading this blog, and a few others, I would never, ever have my own (even if I had anything remotely interesting to say) because I do not want that open door for the public to be ugly.

    I have only seen one negative post here (and your hubby really championed you which was so sweet), but I guess you have had your share.

    I just always assumed that for someone to put themselves out there as bloggers do, the payoff of “loyal, kind readers” was greater than the negative.

    Here is what I don’t understand – and I ask this with COMPLETE RESPECT – aren’t you worried about posting information and pictures of your kiddos considering all of the “crazies” that today’s post is refering to? Your babies are precious, and as a mother there is nothing I love more than to cheer for your daughter’s progress or good news, laugh at your funny pictures, or enjoy your stories about your angels. But one post from a crazy person regarding my kiddos and I would freak.

    Again, this is something I always wondered when I read blogs where people discuss their children – I do not mean any disrespect by my question.

  45. On July 9th, 2009 at 2:12 pm Your Aunt Becky Says:

    not an ounce of disrespect taken, Lisa. None. I sent you an email, but really, I don’t know how to deal with the pictures of my kids and identifying information. And if I should be concerned about it or not. Thoughts?

  46. On July 9th, 2009 at 1:31 pm Virginia in Seattle Says:

    I am as amazed as you are at the vitriolic spew that some readers use as commentary. Some people are just plain mean, but I believe that part of this phenomenon is in some measure due to the medium itself. As a voracious reader, I have read good books and bad. It has never occurred to me to write a letter to the author or publisher when a book did not suit my tastes or beliefs. But no book that I have read has a built-in comment button and keyboard to be used just when my disappointment or ire was aroused.

    There is such a power in words and when readers are moved and then virtually beckoned to submit their reaction, you can have all sorts of bad results. I am sure that you have people in your life (I know I do) that do not have a “mouth filter.” You know those folks who say whatever pops into their mind with no thought for how it might be interpreted or whether or not it is appropriate or nice or even sane. I believe that these are the people that you call “trolls.” They are reading words with the same piece of technology that allows them to respond immediately. Yikes! It’s a wonder that there are not more ugly and unsuitable comments.

    Just for the record I think that your writing is poignant, sassy, funny, and above all, truthful. To share your mind and heart with strangers in this way shows an incredible generosity of spirit. Thanks for gracing my computer screen.

  47. On July 9th, 2009 at 3:03 pm Sandy Says:

    I hate the haters. You are entitled to whine, because you are the shizzle. The hizzle? I can’t never remember my diddyspeak.

    Lucky for me I don’t attract trolls, in large part because the only people who comment on my blog are the nice people whose blogs I have commented on 97 times, and they are starting to worry that if they don’t comment I will begin stalking them IRL.

    By the way, I LOVE real newspapers and magazines better than the internet. Nothing like a fresh copy of The New Yorker, Vogue, or US Weekly.

  48. On July 9th, 2009 at 2:35 pm trish Says:

    Lisa brings up an interesting topic: whether to blog about your children. Should people not blog about their children and post pictures of their children because they’re afraid of…what? Do people really think that posting pics of your kids is going to make someone come and kidnap them? This is an argument that I’ve never understood. Unless you’re saying what a dumb kid your 5-year-old is, how could it possibly be damaging?

  49. On July 9th, 2009 at 2:43 pm trish Says:

    And my comment is only meant in total respect and in the desire to talk about this topic, because Lisa was very nice. I’m not trying to be a jerk, just asking the questions because I’m genuinely curious. 🙂

  50. On July 9th, 2009 at 2:53 pm Your Aunt Becky Says:

    It’s one of those things I don’t know how to handle either, Trish. What’s the harm? What’s the gain? I don’t spend all my posts whining about my kids because it’s not really what I do or how I feel. I adore my kids and I really love life, not to sound like a fucking Hallmark card or anything. I’m really not sure where to stand on this one. I may have to turn this into a post.

  51. On July 9th, 2009 at 4:11 pm Mwa Says:

    Nice post, Aunt Becky. No complaints here.

    Not sure how you should handle this. If there’s a valid other viewpoint, it may not be so bad, but if someone comes into your electronic home and poops on your welcome mat, you have the right to do anything you want, I think.

    Please don’t let it get to you. They’re obviously saddos and have no life.

  52. On July 9th, 2009 at 5:32 pm mumma boo Says:

    I feel sorry for the trolls and others who spew such hate across the web. Really, I do. They must have some major bug up their ass that causes them to focus all their energy into tearing someone else down. How the author responds to the troll or negative review is entirely up to the author. Do I think the author who posted the reviewer’s phone number and e-mail address was right? No. Am I going to tear her a new one for it? No. Do I think she’s lost some readers because of her behavior? Yes. All of us have some asshat in us somewhere – whether we let that asshat out is up to us. And then we have to live with the consequences. 🙂 (down, asshat, down!)

  53. On July 9th, 2009 at 7:12 pm Natalie Says:

    I despise people who take their time and my time just to be rude and idiotic and don’t even leave a name, much less an email or blog address. I mean, what’s the point? I have no idea if the person is just being an asshole for laughs or actually has a valid point somewhere in there.

    Someone disagreeing with me is different – I don’t mind that. I’ve had some great debates and discussions. But my rule is it has to be polite and respectful. Some people are incapable of that, apparently.

    It makes me angry because, like a previous commentor said, it feels like I invited someone into my house and they shit on my rug. I’m not paid to write, they’re not paid to read. I’m not expected to create something. I’m just thinking aloud, and they can listen if they want to. So what if they don’t like it? Ummm, far as I know I was not tying anyone to a chair and forcing them to read it.

    As for the posting pics/talking aobut your kids… I have yet to figure out the scary part of that. I mean, really, if people were honestly that nervous about their child’s safety they shouldn’t go outside… because the creepy neighbor down the street feels like WAY more of a threat to me than an anonymous person in the internet, you know? In the grocery store, the bank, the park… there are plenty of strangers out there who can see your child, know their name, even directly interact with them… and they are much, much closer. But we don’t go around covering our children up and never speaking their name in public.

  54. On July 9th, 2009 at 6:17 pm Ginger Magnolia Says:

    I’ve only had one troll, and when I got that first nasty comment, it hurt. Bad. I published it and basically told her to get the hell on, but I’m not sure that I should have.

    I really don’t understand the desire to say something just to be mean. There’s no point, and it’s not like I asked you to read about whatever it is I may be whining about. You don’t KNOW ME! Well, YOU do, but the trolls don’t.

    Keep on keepin’ on, Beck.

  55. On July 9th, 2009 at 6:56 pm Foggy Says:

    Years ago a wise soul taught me a way to deal with such unpleasant people and situations: you cannot make chicken salad out of chickenshit.

    Don’t even try.

  56. On July 9th, 2009 at 7:15 pm Meg Says:

    You can’t please everyone in life so why try. There will always be someone out there with a hatred for someone and if they so happen to fall onto your place and leave an annonymous note then I think that is just chicken of them. If they feel the need to be trollish then why not just suck it up and admit to their hatred in the open instead of hiding behind a farce. It’s not like we put a BIG sign up and say “HEY READ ME CUZ I”M SOOO INTERESTING AND I LOVE TO BE HEARD!!!”.

    What was I saying..?I believe I began a rant of some sort. Sorry I must take my troll away now and hide it behind the dryer with the lint now:p

  57. On July 9th, 2009 at 7:43 pm Tanna Says:

    Too many great things in this thread to reply to!

    1. I love the satisfaction of reading a section of newspaper cover to cover, but it’s way too much work on the train, they’re too big!

    2. News comments are like a train wreck. I keep going back to look, hoping someone said something nice. Usually I’m disappointed, so WHY do I keep reading!?

    3. Comments that critique grammar/spelling piss the hell out of me.

    4. For me, my blog is a fun extension of my personality. And it’d suck to have your personality critiqued in any way. It’s a process and we’re still sorting the blogging world out, but I wouldn’t be doing it if it weren’t fun. I get to say things I normally wouldn’t say out loud, but it’s all truthful and heart felt. Hopefully all the haters online aren’t truly that spiteful inside. They’re a guest on your site, delete and repeat!

    5. On censoring information from creeps out there: if someone wanted to find you, they could, and they wouldn’t need the internet. And embarrassing the kids, are there ever enough ways to do this? What blogging does do: it opens a new kind of fame the world hasn’t experienced before. Famous bloggers. Kinda sweet, but it would also have all the negatives a famous person would have to deal with…

  58. On July 9th, 2009 at 8:37 pm Kristine Says:

    Ehh, I can handle mean comments from strangers (although I have yet to get any, I’m just not that popular) but when people I knew said mean things, that’s when I broke down.

  59. On July 9th, 2009 at 8:52 pm Lisa Says:

    Let me respectfully add that my fear regarding posting about our children does not revolve around them becoming specific kidnapping targets, etc…

    I feel comfortable posting my thoughts here because I feel that Aunt Becky has a very balanced blogging approach when it comes to the private areas of her life. Many bloggers do not. Also, this “audience” never seems to fail to respond with humor and thoughtful answers.

    As parents, we spend lots of energy and time protecting our children from cyber predators, etc… We try to steer our children toward child safe websites, limit their access to certain material, and teach them about being careful not to reveal too much information about themselves online. Would I want my daughter to have her own blog and have her exposed to “trolls” or worse? N.O. I would never want the global community to have the ability to “speak” to my child as we do here.

    So do we appear hypocritical to our children when we post about them with updates and pictures for the global world to see? (Again, I know that as adults we can recognize trolls and creeps. I am just interested in the kind of example we set for teens who think they are as smart as we are…)

    I am still mad at my mother for the rotten haircuts she forced on me as a child (my weak attempt at humor here) – how will this generation of children feel about exposure in the global frontier when they are old enough to comment?

    As the world of blogging is relatively new, these are just issues I think about as a parent. I mean no disrespect at all. Clearly I do not have the talent or the thick skin to have a blog.

    Since there are a lot of people with blogs listed here I know that you have all probably thought about this as well. And if there is one thing I always appreciate, it is advice from someone who has walked a mile in those particular shoes! Thanks for “listening” to me ramble on again. I promise – no more comments for a week!

  60. On July 9th, 2009 at 9:01 pm tobacco brunette Says:

    I would like to click over to see what Trish wrote and leave you a thought provoking comment. However the gin and tonics I’m drinking to deal with a particularly brutal root canal (fuck your percocets, doc) are interfering with my thoughts and my provoking.

    And your “no legs” comment has me thinking about those people who fantasize about being amputees.

    I’ll go away now.

    Love, love, love your bog.

  61. On July 9th, 2009 at 11:00 pm Mrs. La La Says:

    It has gotten to the point where I cannot even stomach to look at the comments at the end of a news article on the internet. People’s stupidity depresses me.

  62. On July 9th, 2009 at 10:21 pm I'm usually cuter than this Says:

    I’m a newspaper editor, and every other weekend or so it’s my turn to “watch” the comments. By Sunday night I want to put my head in an oven.
    I interviewed a lady two summers ago that was invited to the White House to meet W because she was almost 105 and have voted for every Republican on the presidential ticket since she was 18. She was delightful and a hoot! The President asked her “What’s your secret to living so long?” and she said “I never bothered to keep a man.” I laughed. Hell, W laughed!
    Some of the comments after the article were “that’s what’s wrong with this country, close minded people voting every election” and I’m reading thinking she’s f-ing 104, have you no shame?
    So Amen, sista, to this post.

    And, btw, you are completely hilarious and I am a fan!

  63. On July 10th, 2009 at 1:46 am Susan (5 Minutes for Mom) Says:

    Nailed it!

    It’s craziness out there. I think that sometimes people try to be as obnoxious as possible just to get noticed.

    I’m all for bloggers deleting crap comments from nasty trolls.

  64. On July 10th, 2009 at 4:03 am Jenny Says:

    you are hilarious

  65. On July 10th, 2009 at 10:27 am a Says:

    There are a few reasons to not post your personal information or pictures on your website:

    1. Your husband is completely neurotic and is afraid of releasing any sort of personal information to anyone for any reason. (This is why my blog is anonymous – in fact, this morning, he was questioning why he had to give his SSN to the insurance people)

    2. Stalking has become kind of a hobby for some people. The thing is, it’s a Catch22 – you become a popular blogger by letting people into your life, but by becoming a popular blogger you can become someone’s obsession. Lucky for me, I’ve never been the popular type!

    3. You never know who’s looking. Children are always looking for ways to get at other children. Blogs open up a whole new doorway into criticism. While I think it’s hilarious that you tell me about your ALLI experiences, a 13 or 14 yo kid might use that information to mock you to your child. Depending on the kid, that could be traumatic. Your kids will probably not care, because they know they’ve got a cool mom.

    Anyway, those are my non-useful thoughts on why it might not be great to put your photos and personal info on the internet. I don’t want you to stop, though, because you have some adorable kiddies.

  66. On July 10th, 2009 at 11:00 am Mrs Soup Says:

    I think people that post mean comments really are just sad and insecure with themselves. It makes me sad. I pity them and move on.

    Well, I try to. I have issues of taking things personally, but my blog isn’t awesome enough to attract the trolls yet, so we’ll see how I am when I get them.


  67. On July 10th, 2009 at 5:31 pm Kendra Says:

    When I started my first after college job, research was a surprisingly big part of it. And the internet was pretty new (I’m not THAT old, the internet is still new!), so we spent some time talking about how to assess sources. And someone said looking something up on the internet is like stopping a random person on the street and asking them a question; before you decide whether to believe them, you need to assess the source.

    And I always thought that was a great analogy. The thing about the internet is that it’s a virtual Times Square; everyone you’ve ever known will walk by eventually. And that can be so valuable; wikipedia is really a great resource a lot of the time. And sometimes I see the most respectful, insightful comments in newspaper articles (sometimes!). And it’s how I’ve found this blog and others. But somehow it brings out the worst in people sometimes. It’s like people forget the the person who words you’re reading, that’s an actual person, not a fictional character created to entertain you. And so it does matter if you’re cruel or thoughtless or hurtful, because that’s a real person you’re hurting.

    I would like to think that the potential of the internet is to allow everyone’s voice to be heard, and that it’s living up to the best of it. But I know that often that’s not the case, and that it just gives people a chance to let out their inner asshole.

    I have also given a lot of thought to the question of how much to reveal about your kids. I’ve reached no conclusions but am interested in hearing more!

  68. On July 10th, 2009 at 11:20 pm stacey kuyper Says:

    Read your newspapers…my sister needs to keep her job…

    as far as the trolls…

    opinions are like assholes(trolls) everyone has one…some are bigger ones than others (assholes that is)


    if a troll is posting nasties on YOUR blog…that means they are NOT posting nasties on someone elses blog.


    assholes are as assholes do

    my point is…no matter WHAT you blog about there will ALWAYS someone out there who’s had the fuse lit on their tampon or had their wheaties pee’d in and find reason to post a nasty about it, And what do I say to those vagina bombs—-get a life. If you don’t agree with the blog or posting FINE but at least have the balls to back it up. USA = freedom. Have your opinion you are entitled to it…but be proud of it and take ownership of it.
    Now to go as far as getting back at the troll by posting their actual phone number on the site….maybe a little toenail over the line…there is a much more discreet way of pulling this off….the interstate rest area.( wait hear me out. )
    We’ve all seen it in the bathroom stalls “for a good time call … is a whore..and on and on”
    This gives the same coverage without the smoking gun of evidence.
    This would also be effective in truck stop bathrooms and nudie bars.

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