Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Civilized Discourse on the Internet.... Wishful Thinking? :)

I received a comment (a number of them actually, from the same anonymous source) that I deleted today.  Deleting comments is not something I do happily, so I want to explain why and add my own comments on what I think is a vital issue for people to be discussing about writing and the internet.  


Both comments in question began with obnoxious name calling.  I won't have needlessly inappropriate remarks like that on my blog for many reasons, but most importantly because my students read this blog.  Not only do I not want them to have to read such nonsense, I don't want them learning from me that such things are to be tolerated simply because one opens a discussion about a topic that may be controversial.  I welcome opinions that may disagree with my own and blog as a way of opening a forum for discussion.  I learn a lot from such discussions.  But stating an opposing position and childish name calling are not the same thing.


My post earlier today was on homeschooling and socialization and I've received a number of useful comments and emails expressing many different viewpoints, but it was clear that this particular individual hadn't even read the whole post and simply had an ax to grind against homeschooling.


Unfortunately, there are plenty of cowards on the internet who are happy to spend their time leaving rude comments on blogs, so long as they can hide under the cover of anonymity.  I suppose it's the price we must pay for the sorts of open discussions blogs and the internet allow.  I'm sure if this individual returns, I'll get more of the same in response to this post.  This isn't the first ugly and pointless comment I've received and I'm quite sure it won't be the last.  Still, I refuse to provide a forum for just plain nastiness on my blog and though I greatly value thoughtful disagreement, will always delete pointless insults.  So now I've switched to comment moderation... sad, but necessary.



9 comments:

  1. I changed to moderation as well after receiving a steady supply of Chinese spam. Sorry that yours was forced by incivility.

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  2. When I link to your recent socialization post on on facebook the ugly comment is the blurb under your link. Much to my amusement, the Vitriolic Wonder doesn't know the difference between to, two, and too. It is as if she was conjured up to make your point.

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  3. Ana -- would you clarify for me -- are you saying that the offensive comment is still appearing on Facebook links (as an excerpt), even though I've deleted it from my blog?

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  4. Yes. That's what I'm saying.

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  5. Yikes Ana -- thanks for letting me know. I sure wish I knew how to change that. If anyone knows, please post!

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  6. My husband had someone post something really horrid on a You Tube video. Later the guy e-mailed my husband to tell him that he had been trolled. My husband did some research and it appears that some people post inflammatory stuff solely for the purpose of stirring up trouble (they don't even mean what they say). My husband responded to the troll, "ha ha, you got me". Then the troll offered to remove all of the offensive stuff he had posted. The whole thing was weird. Not saying that you shouldn't have deleted the comments, because they were just rude. It may just explain why the person was posting what they did...

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  7. Thanks Maureen -- I appreciate the info. It's hard to believe people waste their time like that just to stir people up, but I suppose I shouldn't be surprised. I hope that's what this was about. The whole experience was rather unsettling.

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  8. I feel sorry that people do this :( In agreement with your post, I believe that the soul purpose for post rude and unnecessary comments is to have the feeling that you know more than you really do. I do wonder, though, why the person who posted those comments is so against what you had posted about.

    On a more personal note: I'm sorry you had to receive those rude comments Mrs. Van Houten. I know you don't disserve them and I hope this doesn't again happen any time soon. Though, when one goes public I have heard that these things are sadly unavoidable.

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  9. Thank you so much for your kind and thoughtful post, Isabella! You make such a good point - people do seem to be motivated by a sort of one-up-man-ship defensiveness sometimes. They want to feel superior, as you put it. Very insightful!

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