Spit in the Host’s Face

You read a lot of blogs, right?  You spend a good chunk of your online time reading the blogs other people write which you find interesting and entertaining, right?

Some folks have a definitive idea what their blog’s about.  Their posts are targeted, full of information, and have purpose.  Other blogs are rambling walks through someone’s life, words sort of spilling out of the author’s head as they walk along their life’s journey and share it with you.  Others fall into neither category and offer other things of interest to their readership.  Still others are somewhere in between, sometimes being informative, sometimes being rambles, and sometimes not being much of anything at all.

All of those are fine, and you find a particular set of them interesting.

Have you ever visited a blog where one of the commentators, or several of them maybe, argue with, disagree with, or just flat insult the blogger?  Sometimes it’s just a snarky remark, and sometimes it’s a full-blown assault on either the blogger or the commentators.  Full-on flame wars ensue.  Sometimes the host jumps back in the fray to defend themselves, sometimes they just ignore it and move on with their lives.  (A lot of this depends on how many comments the blog draws on a regular basis, I’m sure.  The more traffic, the more likely the blogger is to be attacked.)

With a personal blog, it’s a hard thing to watch.  Someone puts their thoughts, their feelings, their inner workings out on the Internet.  On the one hand, they want someone to read them, give them feedback and maybe offer them insight.  On the other hand, they don’t necessarily want to be attacked (there are some bloggers where this is the intent, I’m sure, but that’s a specific category of blog by itself).  And they don’t want to have to defend themselves against people whose values, beliefs, opinions and views differ from their own.  A blog is someplace where someone shares something with the world.  Sometimes they don’t want to offer an apologetic for what they’re offering.  (Sometimes they have to, and there’s no way around that, but again, that’s a certain type of blog.)

Being attacked in your own home isn’t fun, and it can leave one shaking one’s head, torn between wanting to defend themselves on instinct, and trying to take the high road and decide they shouldn’t have to defend themselves.  A blog – a personal blog anyway – should be a safe haven, a place where someone goes to have their say, their piece, and their peace.  At least it is for me.  I don’t want to feel the need to defend or justify what I have to say, why I say it, what I think or believe or hold in value.

And, when someone comes along and doesn’t respect that – when someone comes along and thinks it’s their place to put me in my place, or it’s their right to tell me where I get off, or comes along just to tell me how much they don’t like my posts for any reason – I get a little defensive.  Matter of fact, I view it as someone being invited into my home and then spitting in my face as their host by disregarding or disrespecting my hospitality.

Let’s face it, the Internet is loaded with jackasses.  They’re going to occasionally wander onto your little corner lot in the cul-de-sac of cyber-space.  That’s all well and good, but in so doing, do they have to spit on the host whose house they’ve entered?  It’s even more insidious when they come initially in supportive, peaceful ways, under the flag of friendship, and then begin to spit.  It’s more hurtful and even more disrespectful, if that’s even possible.

What about you?  I know the regular readers I have would never do this to someone else; at least, I’d like to believe that.  But have you had it happen to you?  How do you react if and when it does happen?  What’s your response? or do you even know?  And more to the point, if you’re not finding a blog interesting, entertaining, informative or both, why would you bother to attack the blogger rather than just … not reading it anymore?  If it isn’t to your taste, or if it is in general and the blogger says something you don’t agree with, why bother taking the time to attack instead of … clicking away to one of the other millions of blogs the blogosphere has to offer?

What do you think?


All original content © 2009 DarcKnyt
ALL rights reserved.


15 thoughts on “Spit in the Host’s Face

  1. I have a short attention span so I kinda tune out on flame wars. I think the issue is that it’s a lot easier to type something out that’s hurtful or mean spirited under the cover of Internet anonymity rather than ever saying something mean or nasty to a person’s face. I mean, that’s why so many teenagers are breaking up via text message, right? 🙂

    Not sure about teens breaking up via text (I’ve heard of adults doing it too), but as for the rest, I think there’s a lot of truth to it. There’s much courage in anonymity.

    Plus, it’s a lot harder to read body language or if someone’s joking through static words on a page.

    That’s true; what sounds funny and teasing in your mind’s eye may well be hurtful or insulting in another’s.

  2. I do not have a following like you do, so I haven’t had many comments left, let alone anything like you are talking about here. I know in my younger days it was fun to get people all riled up and watch them interact. But I’m older now, and that just isn’t fun anymore. Playful banter is fun, but the rest, I leave that to the children. I would rather post and learn more about writing and watch as my other interweb friends grow and post pieces as well.

    So, you were one of the trouble makers, hm? Very interesting; I always wondered what happened to them when they finally grew up. Now I know; they write zombie poetry. 😉

  3. I think if you put your thoughts, feelings and questions on an open blog, you are inviting dissenting opinion. You’re probably talking about people calling names and being belligerent rather than just dissenting opinion, but all dissenting opinion sounds belligerent to me. I know this is a flaw that I have to work on, I have to get used to asserting my opinions and receiving respectful dissenting opinions of others, but at the moment I’m still not comfortable with it. That’s why I rarely talk about politics on my blog, not because I don’t have an opinion, but because I’m a coward. 🙂

    I am too, sorta. I don’t feel capable of defending myself on a lot of levels right now, but that wasn’t true of me in years past. I used to be quite a capable debater, but now, it’s just too much effort. And who cares? There’s always SOMEone who disagrees. Nine out of ten Americans agree, out of ten Americans, one will always disagree with the other nine.

    As for dissenting opinion, well — this is MY blog, MY house. No one has to come here if they don’t like what I say. I’ll be the arbiter of what’s “respectful” and what’s not. First Amendment rights do not apply here. 😉

    I have good common taters, but that might make it boring for the readers. Maybe I should ask provoking questions and let y’all go at it, like we did on the Obama/school post.

    That’s up to you, but I don’t find the blog boring just ’cause you get good common taters. If you do turn your blog into a controversial or provocative one, I can assure you I won’t comment anymore. Like I said before — I’m chicken. 🙂

    (Did you get the common taters/commentators pun? Huh?)

    Oh yeah. I got it.

  4. I had one person leave a comment on my blog about my father in which the commenter said my dad should engage in carnal acts with hordes of other men. The commenter didn’t quite put it that way. The commenter was bit more blunt. But this is PG blog. I don’t want to repeat what that commenter wrote on my blog. That would get me banned for real over here.

    Well, you’re a class act and he’s not, which is the difference. But you wouldn’t be banned for that. Maybe for liking Die Hard, but not that.

    I just deleted the comment and moved on with my life. Besides, I’m sure I’ll meet this commenter again on my way to Hell, at which point, I’ll speed up his journey.

    Nice, healthy attitude. I need to be a little more like that, I suspect. Or a lot more.

  5. Well, I am definately guilty of word vomit, however, I would never VOMIT on someone else’s blog….I just think that is not neighborly 🙂

    I agree with you — vomit is best left for the parking lot or your own bathroom. 🙂

  6. There are people who thrive on creating chaos in people’s internet houses as well as in their real houses. Some people, believe it or not, are just nasty people with some issues.

    *GASP!* NO! People … on the Internet … with ISSUES?! Say it’s not so, CP! Say it ain’t SO! 😉

    Seriously though, doesn’t it sometimes seem people are MORE issue prone on the Internet? Like they’ve been given license somehow.

    It is very apparent to me when people are welcoming a dissenting opinion, or a debate, especially when it’s about at hot topic such as religion or politics–and it’s apparent when they are using their blog as a platform to rant and spew. I enter into genuine discussions very carefully and infrequently, and when I do it is always very respectfully. I have friends of all faiths, political persuasions, world views. I respect their views and I expect them to respect mine, too. They don’t have to agree with me, but I certainly wouldn’t expect them to bash me. A dissenting opinion is fine, a character attack is not. And if I run across something offensive? I just leave. Why do anything else?

    I haven’t a clue. Not one. And yet … it happens all day, everyday. *Shrug* I’m at a loss.

  7. delete in a couple of languages. (I’m banned now for sure). oh well. kustutama, tanggalin, poistaa, effacer, barrer, rayer, borrar, streichen, למחוק

    Awesome. For this bit of knowledge, I hereby UNban you from this site. For today. 😉

  8. I have the same problem as Sherri–I feel that just disagreeing is somehow rude. But I don’t always agree. Like her Obama/school post. I really liked everyone commenting and wanted to say something–but then worried about it for a long time. Will they still like me? Terrible.

    Yeah, there’s a nasty element of that in those things, aren’t they? I sort of stay out of those things for similar reason.

    I believe in the move on along school of blogging. I do not care for chaos.

    I think I don’t care for it either.

  9. You ask “wouldn’t it make more sense to just walk away?” as though following the dictates of common sense is a priority for these folks. But where’s the entertainment value in just walking away? It’s so… passive, y’know?

    Oh, true, true. I’m a passive kind of guy in those situations, unfortunately. I’m wimpy that way.

    Ha ha. I just thought of something: maybe we can add “Walk Away” buttons to our blog templates, right next to the “Submit Comment” ones. When somebody clicked on it, anything they’d entered in the comment box would be cleared, and they’d automagically be taken to some random point in their browser’s history. This gives everybody something to do!

    That’d be awesome! Great idea!

  10. If someone left that type of comment on my blog, I wouldn’t make a response right away. I’d sit with it, try to figure out if the author’s point of view had any merit, any lesson I could find of value. I’d think about how I expressed myself, and try to determine if there was a better way I could have worded my thoughts. I wouldn’t assume that it was my fault I got flamed, but I wouldn’t dismiss the comment without due consideration. Then if I felt it had nothing to offer, I would delete it. If I felt there was something important I could offer in reply, I would reply. I would try not to take it personally, but I still might, because sometimes that can’t be helped.

    Interesting philosophy, Spark. I can’t say I’d follow your path on that one; you’re a pioneer.

  11. I’m no good at flame wars mostly because I start to wonder the insults I’m getting might be factual.

    But always remember this…

    Al, that’s BRILLIANT. Thanks for uplifting and affirming confirmation from … the Internet! 🙂

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