Drive-by Rude-ing

You know, whenever I visit someone’s blog, I try to maintain some semblance of civility, especially if I’m visiting said blog for the first time. You never get a second chance to make a first impression, so why go out of one’s way to be an ass and ruin your one chance to be considered a nice person? (Plenty of time for proving yourself a genuine ass later, I always say.)

Recently, someone dropped by my wife’s blog and dropped a rude-bomb on me, suggesting she should dump me for another hubby. (Okay, that’s not bad advice, but it’s still rude. Hello! I’m in the ROOM.) It was just a joke, and probably not intended to be a barb, but it still offered me a slap across the face. The funny thing is, this person didn’t even know me, had no knowledge of me, didn’t visit my blog, nothing. Just … poof. It was a drive-by rude-ing*.

I don’t know if it’s just me, but mother taught me if you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all. If I’d lived by that I wouldn’t speak much, but still, the point can be made there’s no cause to say something rude. In other words, try not to miss an opportunity to keep your mouth shut. You might benefit from it someday. (Yes, I say things I shouldn’t say all the time. I just try not to say them to strangers about people they might like.)

Then again, there’s an anonymity to the Internet which affords many the opportunity to fly their freak flags and release their inner a$$hole like no other medium has before. Unlike our cars, which provide the illusion of anonymity, the shield of the Internet and cyberspace is real and definitive. It’s difficult or impossible to track someone to their home without court orders and a lot of time. So people feel free to drop the pretense of both brains and courtesy and let go with things they might not normally say in polite company like a pigeon drops crap – without thought or aim.

What is it about people which makes them think there’s no purpose, no reason, to be courteous and polite in pixels as they would be face to face? I’m willing to bet most of those dropping rude-bombs and being caustic pigs on the ‘Net wouldn’t dare act such in real life. Can you imagine our world where people acted like they do on the Internet? The murder rate would skyrocket. (Go ‘head, try being an a$$hole like that in Texas or Arizona and see if you don’t get a lead lobotomy for your trouble.)

How about you, o courageous readers? Do you have the cajones (cojones?) to be abrasive and disregard the feelings of others on the Internet? Do you try to remember there’s a human being on the other side of that cyber-wall reading the things you write? Do you keep in mind how difficult text-only communication can be, wherein there’s no facial expression or body language available? (I fail at this in epic proportions.)

Sound off and tell me what you think. Am I too sensitive and wussy? or should some of us make a last stand for human decency and common courtesy?

-JDT-

* – Had she done a similar thing on my blog to my spouse her comment would’ve been deleted post-haste, joking or no, and her IP banned from my blog. NO ONE insults my family on MY blog – the only one with a right to free speech here is me.

All original content © 2010 DarcKnyt
ALL rights reserved.

Steam Rolled

Be honest now … you’ve got someone on your blogroll who’s there out of pity, don’t you?

You know the person I mean.  You got a nice comment from them at one time, maybe.  Maybe a couple of them.  So you decide to reciprocate.  You don’t know how they found you, you’re not sure what brought them to your little corner of the Internet, but you decide to be courteous – after all, you’re not a jerk, right? – and so you go and say a few things back to them.  But their blog’s not your cup of tea.  They can’t put together a complete sentence which would pass muster in third grade.  They can’t tell the difference between “their”, “there” and “they’re”.  Or “to”, “too” and “two”.  Their posts are incredibly inane.  Maybe all three or some combination thereof.  But you do your duty, let them know you came by, drop the occasional comment.

Then you notice you’re on their blogroll or link list (whatever their blog provider calls it), and they’re not on yours.

Well, now what?  Do you continue to act like a jerk and leave them off your blog list, or do you add them?  Well, you don’t want to be a jerk so you go ahead and add them.  And then, you think, that’s that.  It’s the end of it; you’ve done your part as a decent citizen of the blogosphere.  Not much more to think about.

Well, maybe if you just add them to your feed reader so you don’t forget to check that blog once in a while, leave a comment, do your due diligence.  No biggie.  Right?

But then, there’s a change in tone.  That person comes around and acts differently than they did before, perhaps, or attacks one of your long-time commentators, or goes around the other blogs on your blogroll or the blogs of your commentators and starts leaving comments all over the place.  For whatever reason, you have a falling out of some sort.  And then, they pay you THE ULTIMATE INSULT.

They remove you from their blogroll.

OH, the humiliation!  Oh, the shame of it all!  This inane, badly written, mindless drivel of a blog and its owner have slapped your face!

Well!  The nerve!

To make it the more embarrassing, you knew they didn’t belong on your blogroll in the first place. You knew they weren’t the sort of blog you’d usually read.  But here you were, trying to be nice, trying to be a responsible and courteous blogger, and now they’ve completely ground your courtesy into the dust by taking you off their blogroll!

What to do?  What to do?

You go ahead and take them off your blogroll too, but now you look like the one being petty.  You look like the one being childish, responding with a “hmph!” and an upturned nose.  You look like the one who’s being a low-brow moron with nothing better to do than participate in antics you thought you left behind in grade school.

For some of you, maybe this blog is the inane, mindless drivel blog.  For me it’s someone else.  For them – someone else still.  A never-ending chain of childish blogroll-editing.

Welcome to the Internet.  Now let’s all grow up.

Sometimes it’s better not to return the favor.  Sometimes it’s okay to let someone else have you on their list of blogs to visit and things to do in their day without the obligation of reciprocity.  Sometimes it’s okay for you to be a jerk and just … not add that blog, which wasn’t your cup of tea anyway, to your blogroll.

And when you do remove them from your feed reader and blogroll, you’ll find you have more time to pursue the blogs you do enjoy, and interact with the people you do like and do enjoy reading.  To you, those people aren’t inane even when they’re just talking about what they did for dinner last night, or how their child is doing in school, or how their weekend trip to the country went.  That’s not mindless and it’s not drivel, because you care about them, enjoy the snapshots you get of their lives, and want to share yours with them.

In the end, isn’t that what the blogroll should be about?  Sharing stuff you like with people you like, hoping others will like it as much as you?

Yeah, me too.  And this post was exactly as long as I wanted it.

-JDT-

All original content © 2009 DarcKnyt
ALL rights reserved.

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?

-JDT-

All original content © 2009 DarcKnyt
ALL rights reserved.