When Bloggers Offend

I have been involved in various message boards for about ten years and blogging for 3.5. During that time I have seen and experienced a lot of different things. A few days ago I wrote about civility in the blogosphere. The impetus for that particular post was because of a disagreement that I was involved in.

There were a number of us debating a variety of topics. It got heated and I was attacked on the blog and by email. It is not the first time and I am sure that it won’t be the last. You can’t get involved in some of these conversations without being prepared for that. They have attacked my character, remarked upon my lineage and made specific threats against myself and my family.

If you let it get to you it can be discouraging and disheartening. Most of the time it doesn’t bother me. I have a thick skin, some people might even say a thick head. 😉 I don’t pay much attention to it unless it is being said by the people I care about. People cannot hurt you unless you give them the power to.

All that being said I have found from time to time that I have been quite disappointed by what I have read at some blogs. It is not uncommon. We all find blogs that we really enjoy. Sometimes we find something that we think is really special, a blog that speaks to us. After a time you might develop an attachment to that blogger. Maybe you see them as a friend or someone who could become a good friend.

And then comes a post or posts that make you say WTF! They produce posts that leave you feeling dumbfounded, wondering how you could have ever thought that the blogger was a kind and decent person. To be clear, I include myself in this. I am not naive enough to think that I have never offended anyone.

When this happens you are faced with determining how to proceed. Do you contact the person and try to discuss it. Do you ignore it. Do you try to balance the post with your own comments.

What do you think?

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  1. Jack's Shack September 11, 2007 at 5:45 am

    Am I the only guy here who ever went to a non-pussy Yeshiva?

    Whatever are you going to do with all that testosterone. ;)Arguing with your chevrusa is different than debating online.

  2. mnuez September 10, 2007 at 5:34 am

    Geez. Am I the only guy here who ever went to a non-pussy Yeshiva? You fight, you argue, you call your chavrusa a moron without a moiach B’kudkuduy and you get pleasure out of the fight. You SHOULD also be interested in truth and fiercely so, and, admittedly, that’s a bit harder when you’re shouting – but not that much. Having a fierce lust for truth is something that almost no one actually has or even has an interest in having (when it threatens what they really really want to believe) so the danger that arguing sharply has to anyone’s ahavas ha’emes is small. The benefits however of arguing like a yeshiva bachur (in a stable 😉 however are, for me at least, fantastic. Kal V’choimer in non-person. I believe that, in blogs, you should totally say whatever the fuck it is that you want to day PROVIDED that you don’t actually insult the human being. Tell him as a horse’s ass for saying something so stupid but don’t tell him that his wife is a meeskeit and that you’re gonna break into his house in the middle of the night to brain his family.

    Yah, so that’s where I stand. If someone said something that you consider to be evil or just downright stupid, have at it. Tell the truth. But A) consider toning it down slightly (and Only slightly) when in person and B) of course never actually hate the REAL person! just the blogger! a.k.a. the disembodied voice of the written pieces.

    Lay it on boys and girls, lay it on…


    P.S. Yeshivehshe Reid is back! 😉

  3. Jack's Shack September 9, 2007 at 4:45 am


    That is a reasonable response. FWIW, this wasn’t based on one post, but many that I have read. I think that many people forget to consider the entirety of the person and just react.


    I was happy to comment on your post. You are correct the insults can get old really quickly, unless people get creative. But that is a different story altogether. 😉


    Some of us have bad years. When I think about 20 I cringe, but that is a post for a different day.

    Remember, it is hard to measure people’s tone in the blogosphere.


    Quite true. Without facial expressions and or tone of voice we lose a lot.

    I hope we never made a post that made you feel that way!


    If it was important enough to me to let you know I would. You are correct, it is smart to contact them behind the scenes.


    You touched upon a good point. Over time we get to know bloggers, at least well enough to have a sense of what they are like. That provides a valuable clue as to whether to give them a break. It is the newcomers who show up guns blazing that can make it difficult.

    you can’t bludgeon people into changing their minds, political stances, etc….


    Oh but it is so much fun to try. 😉


    I hear you.

  4. SnoopyTheGoon September 8, 2007 at 9:13 am

    Civility is surely overrated, Jack. There are moments when one just cannot hide behind it, and a strong word or two can hardly kill.

    Besides, there are people who just cannot be got to without a 2×4 provided by a few expletives or insults. Happens all the time.


  5. Kol Ra'ash Gadol September 7, 2007 at 9:31 pm

    First I would write to the author – sometimes they were just incoherent or poorly written, or they zoned inthe middle of their post, or something equally inane, rather than wicked.

    Second, if that’s not it, then try a dialogue.

    Then if that doesn’t work, silence – you can’t bludgeon people into changing their minds, political stances, etc….

  6. PsychoToddler September 7, 2007 at 4:28 pm

    If we all agreed with each other all the time our comments section would be pretty boring.

    I think as long as you’re civil, you have every right to disagree with a post and state why you do.

    Someone disagreed with something I wrote recently, and because she’s someone I’ve come to know over the past few years through her blog I totally respect her opinion and would be offended if some other blogger, rushing to my defense, tried to make her look bad.

    I’ve said it before, anonymity is a mixed bag here on the internets, yes you get to say things you wouldn’t normally say in person, but by the same token, you say things that you wouldn’t normally say in person.

    But bottom line is your blog is like an extension of your home, and if someone is rude, boot ‘im.

  7. LT September 7, 2007 at 2:55 pm

    We all have our own Mishugas. Some of the most reasonable people you’ll meet have their weakpoints, certain things about which they just can’t see reason.

    Whether it makes sense to contact them to talk things out depends on just how unreasonable/emotional they sound.

    I hope we never made a post that made you feel that way!

  8. Guilty Secret September 7, 2007 at 2:52 pm

    I agree with Miriam. Remember, it is hard to measure people’s tone in the blogosphere.

    If you see someone as a friend, give them a break. If it continues, ask them kindly, not accusingly, what is going on with them.

  9. Miriam L September 7, 2007 at 12:18 pm

    I think if it’s one post among many more acceptable posts, just ignore it. Assume the blogger was having a bad day, as we all do.

  10. bigwhitehat September 7, 2007 at 11:20 am

    I used to really like to argue in comment threads. But I really got tired of it.

    I guess most of us are thick skinned and that allows us to write what we do. Even so, the insults get old fast.

    Hey, thanks for your comments on my sabbath post. I’m a gentile Christian who has memorized more Isiah than Matthew. You probably already figured that out though.

  11. Mark September 7, 2007 at 10:54 am

    I think we all have the capacity to be kind and decent.

    But we all get pushed to our limits.

    A blogger doing a post which is lashing out at repetitive attacks, no matter how vicious sounding, doesn’t necessarily mean the person who wrote it isn’t a decent person.

    Maybe the person of whom you speak has reached their limit with crap to which not everyone is privy. I have found that there is usually more to the story than seems from one knee-jerk post. I would take the sum of the person into consideration, unless the post of which you speak was a personal attack on you.

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