Friday, May 18, 2012

Knee Jerk Lessons From The Blog

Deb: A few times on our blog we have encountered angry and combative people. Let me start by saying how lucky we are not to have run into this more. After all, when you put yourself out there you are opening yourself up to ...well ... the world, and we have been so lucky with the people we have connected with.

I have learned a few lessons, particularly from a recent back and forth I had with one such disgruntled reader. I know that people have every right to say what they feel. Hell, we do!  And I wish I could be more like Barb and gently say something like, “We appreciate your comment,” or some such response. But I can’t. Or at least I couldn’t. Or haven’t yet. But now I will. Maybe.

Here is my issue with it. The most recent sparring match on the blog is a good example of my point because it was a day where several people had opposing points of view from mine. And I loved it. Had no issue with it at all. Actually a few of the comments were food for thought and made me see something I had not previously seen.

So the whole knee jerking that I did with this one particular person made me examine my response and question myself. These were my conclusions: The three times I have engaged in challenging word ping-pong have all had something in common. The comments aimed at me were angry and disrespectful. I don’t have issue with someone disagreeing with me, but I clearly have issue with feeling attacked. The most recent attack was by someone who totally misunderstood the point I was making and accused me of saying things I simply did not say. In my second response to her, I urged the person in question to re-read the post so that they would see that I had said nothing they were claiming I had said.  This suggestion fell on deaf ears.

Given who I am and how poorly I deal with stress, I set out to delete the comments. I find that when I look at the ugly or the angry in print it makes my stomach churn and I cannot let go of the bad feelings. So I felt I should delete them and put them behind me. My reasons for deleting were the “my house, my rules; my blog, my rules” line of thinking. I would not let someone abuse me in my own home, so why should I on the blog? Afterwards I second guessed myself and wondered if I should just have let it stand. After all, I thought, maybe with the many lumps of sugar come a few lumps on the head. But then I pondered it some more. What do you say when you are being yelled at on the blog? I was not about to keep doing the back and forth with this person who was clearly missing my point. So ... do I just try and be reasonable and when the response is unreasonable, do I just say, “Thank you for your comment,” time and time again? Where do you draw the line? I would love to hear what you guys think. Delete? Not delete? Engage each time. Engage until it is futile?  I sincerely think I handled it wrong by deleting, but I have no viable alternative at this point. The recent person in question told me I should be ashamed of myself for deleting and that I did a great disservice to my readers in doing so. Did I, readers? I want your honest opinions.

I want to be accessible. I want to be thick skinned. But I want to feel safe.

Barbara: I guess I have to go first! Okay. I obviously love and respect you, Deb, and am of the mind that you are entitled to do whatever makes you feel most comfortable in your own “home”. I supported you on the day and I support you now. It is our blog; it is our home.

That said, your compelling question made me think. And thinking made me analyze. And analyzing made me consider a point of view. If it were me (and I guess it is me too because the commenter in question was definitely talking to both of us), my first instinct is that I would have left the comment up. I guess because the worst accusation was that we were “judgmental”. I could live with that even if I don’t feel that way. If we’d been called “bimbo dirtbag sluts”, um, I probably would’ve taken it down (my bimbo sluttishness is my own private business, people). So is that my line in the sand? In the words used???

But I also try to ignore comments that I feel are irate or hostile. Deb, you are very honourably committed to addressing every single person on the blog and I really respect that, but in this case, I’d already decided I wasn’t going to engage. I mean, I might try to get in one counter point (like, “No, that’s not what I meant; I meant this,” or something of that ilk). But I also know that those discussions (aka disagreements) tend to carry on ad nauseum, with each person “hearing” the other with less and less clarity, and with the discussion (aka argument) getting more and more convoluted (as each tries to make “more sense” and inevitably making less).

All this said, the trickiest part for me in answering your question is that my most painful Achilles heal, my most vulnerable underbelly in writing this blog (in writing ANY of the stuff I write), is in my fundamental, determined, and frankly sometimes desperate need to make sure my point is understood. Not in an aggressive, “I want to change your mind for you” kind of way, but (like what you were going for, Deb) in a “THIS is what I mean, not THAT,” kind of way. In a, “Please, please UNDERSTAND me,” kind of way. And then, once I’ve communicated my own true perspective and experience, let the reactions and opinions fall where they may.

Like you, I don’t expect people to agree with me all the time. In fact, I relish the turning of the idea or thought or belief because someone has come in here and eloquently and compassionately made a contrasting point. For heaven’s sake, our tag line is “two different opinions”! I have only ever gotten into trouble (aka gnashing-teeth-frenzied-yelling-pulling-my-own-hair-out altercations) when I’ve tried to EXPLAIN my point to someone who utterly believed my point was some other thing entirely. My lesson-learned was that it wasn’t worth it. I don’t want or mean to dump that lesson in any of your laps. Many people might decide they need to fight the good fight until the bitter end. But in my very personal case, it simply isn’t worth it. To me it feels a lot like pulling sharks away from the carcass after they’ve frenzied on the blood.

But in the end, the real real truth in this debate is that I don’t like how the whole thing made you feel, Deb. And for that I would do anything. Even take down a comment. 

81 comments:

  1. I agree- your blog, your home! I love love love having "arguments" with people because I either learn something new about the subject, or about the person, or I can change someone's mind, or on very rare occasions change my own mind! :) But only when it's a respectful, intelligent and polite discussion. Even though I don't know you Deb I'm sure you wouldn't just delete a comment because the view was different from your own. I think if it made your stomach churn then it was disrespectful and had no place in your home!

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    1. Thanks Samara, I did feel anger on the three occasions but I should have let it stand I think.

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  2. Awwh Sweetie. I read the last comment actually... So I can imagine how you felt...Hell it made me feel bad too... And Lemme answer you're question hon. YOU.DID."NOT".DO.ANY.DISSERVICE.TO.US.
    this is so much like the convo we had about the "misunderstandings we have when we are not talking face to face". And I would have done the same thing If I were you. In fact I have a lotta times coz a similar thing happened to me on Facebook a couple of times. And its your blog.. you can do what you want here. I know you girls. You respect every opinion and are open to hear anything we have to say....I mean you are so sweet that you respond all of us individually and take interest in everything we have to say. That is the sweetest thing ever.

    I say if it feels uncomfortable...Take down the comment. Doesnt matter. You tried to explain the person... and they didnt get it. Its fine..they dont have to.... dont take that seriously. Ive done the same thing before...Tried to explain..and then took down the comment because it was very uncomfortable for me. And I dont regret the decision. When a person cant get me.. I just let it go... Coz I have this theory. If someone cannot get you... its either because they misunderstood it or because THEY DONT WANT TO (I'm being upfront!). A lotta times they dont want to get us. And its not their fault they have different beliefs than us.. they just communicate it in a way that is kinda well attacking. And Honestly we have all the right to let it go and walk away. And you did that same..
    If anything hurts you, do anything to make yourself feel better, its no big deal !! You girls are AWESOME.... you are not doing any kinda disservice...!! I mean C'mon you read my COMMENTS !!!! You know how LOOOOONG they are???? Even if sometimes they are full of peptalk(which I'm proud of :P), sometimes dont make any sense...and loads of times its just a load of jibber-jabber! THATS PROVES YOU CARE..!!! and you keep appreciating everyone here...Hell Barb even said to me once that "I was as cute as a Baby turtle".(Mwah!) ME!!! my mom was laughing...no joke. seriously she was laughing when she read that!

    So no matter what anyone says....you keep doing what you do and you OWN your decision....no matter what it is....coz when you took it you had a reason for it and thats enough. you dont have to answer to anyone or feel bad about it. Ok? :)

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  3. Wow thats a LOOONG comment XD But I mean it !!!
    and I forgot to say.....

    I LOVE YOU GIRLS !!!! <3<3<3 xoxo

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    1. Good point Shalaka. I think I would tend more to take it down if it were hateful or racist or something like that. But I just wondered if I was right to take it down just because I didn't like the tone. Thanks for the weigh in. I am considering each comment very carefully today.

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  4. I agree also. Your blog, your rules! I like having _conversation_ with people. If they start arguing I will walk away. If they start to force feed their opinion, I will still walk away. This is very typical behaviour in forums where some try to provoke others to fight. There also are trolls who go to otherwise organized discussions and try to ruine them.

    I really think that some people need to be taught how to behave online. Everybody has right for their own opinion, but they also better follow the rules. One forum that I follw asks people to sign in (you don't need to be signed in to read it) and it will kick out people for bad behavior. That is good in a way that it will make people think twice before saying something stupid. Well usually.

    Of course blogs are different from forums. I do see that when replying to a blog (depending on a subject) you really need to keep your own emotions at bay, aka not attack anyone. Just tell your own opinion and accept others opinion. We are all humans, so we all do make mistakes. We need to learn from them. More versatile our opinions are the more we can learn.

    I know what discussion you are talking about Deb (I think). I would have probably just deleted it and not have answered to it. I think you handled it well *hugs*.

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    1. Thanks Kasku. yeah I am not good anymore with the arguing. I used to have regular "discussions" with a few dear friends about opposite points of view on a variety of subjects. It was the same with my brother. One day I simply said "enough". We are never going to change each others minds and yet we argue the same stuff over and over and all it does is leave me with a bad feeling. So now...I don't engage. For me, it's the life too short thing!

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  5. I agree with deleting the comment. You tried several times Deb to clarify with the person and clearly, they were on a different track than you were trying to express. Listen to you gut, it is usually right. If the negativity and "abuse" was making you feel uncomfortable and bringing out the negative in you then absolutely DELETE and move on to positives. Your house, your blog, your garden. You can be surrounded by beautiful flowers that make you smile and happy, not by weeds that choke you. You did the right thing. This is a lovely blog with many opinions expressed, listened to and commented on.....no room for abuse here, just respect. xo

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    1. Mary Jo I LOOVED THE LAST SENTENCE! Amen Amen !!!

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    2. Lovely Mary-Jo, just lovely. Thanks.

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  6. As an avid follower, reader but one who doesn't weigh in on the discussions yet enjoy them, I believe anyone who takes a forum like this to vent to the point of no longer serving the issue being discussed and along the way is disrespectful not only to the authors but to the forum, should get the hook. Followers were served well by the axe thank you very much.

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    1. Thanks Patty that is my point. When the comments become angry and off the point, right? I love your "get the hook!"

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  7. Deb - I am so sorry that you had that happen and it's distressing because one thing I love about this blog is I feel safe. The first thought I had was what Dr. Phil says, "You teach people how to treat you." So in that sense you did the right thing in saying your house, your rules. But at the same time the hardest thing I have had to learn and sometimes still fail at, is to not internalize what people say all the time. I mean if it has significant meaning than by all means I store it in my mind or my heart. But you can never win with a person who comes across with a "how dare you have a different opinion than I" attitude. My brother Joe once settled that argument with "Who are you trying to convince me or yourself?" But most of all you and Barbara absolutely have the right to be respected in your thoughts and opinions. When this person became disrespectful they crossed a line and that should not go unchallenged. So don't second guess yourself if anything ask yourself if you need to invest anymore energy in something that makes your stomach churn? If it costs you too much then don't buy into it. For the record I think most of us think what you share with us is priceless and from the heart! If I was there I'd give you a big hug! I'm sending you a smile in case you haven't found yours yet today : )

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    1. Mary you have just made a huge point-YOU GUYS need to feel safe too! We have had many personal and in depth discussions here where people have poured their hearts out. I am ashamed to say that I didn't even think of how this affects the readers from their point of view of safety. good point Mary!

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    2. Don't worry about me, I'm concerned that you felt attacked and hurt : ( Hope we have helped you see it in another light!

      On my way to get my boy I'm so excited to have him home!!! Hugs everyone

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  8. Deb, I am with you. It is good to have respectful discussions, but there is no room for abuse here. It amazes me how some folks respond on line. Would they do that face to face?

    When the discussion turns into something less than respectful, it's time to say "thanks for your comment" and move on. No need to engage past that. And remember that the rest of us think you rock!

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    1. Shawn it's funny because Barb and I touched on that when we were speaking. The internet has made brave souls of us hasn't it? Would these people say these things to my face? Maybe. But I doubt it. Some of the stuff I read on FB streams is just awful and I always think "yeah it's easy to type, not so easy to say".

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  9. If you feel disrespected, in my humble view, you are under no obligation to honour the speaker's, in this case, reader's presumed right to be discourteous because any claim as to how being ill-mannered is allowable is false presumption...A discourse where two people disagree is one thing, and I, knowing your opinions on any number of topics, can state emphatically that you have more than demonstrated an ability to consider another side, but a rant about why you're wrong and the other individual's point to view is correct is so not on. So delete if you will Deb...and don't waste your time with guilt or second guessing. While you have indeed put yourself out there with this blog and need to be prepared to hear things that might not always agree with your point of view, that doesn't mean you need to brook rudeness or any of it's manifestations. Good manners are called for online as well...

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    1. Thanks Annette, yes good manners are called for online. But the boy and I were just discussing the fact that the internet makes brave cowards of people-people can scream and rant while hiding behind a faceless machine. Interesting topic I think.

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    2. Beyond interesting...Reminds me of quote, "I was wrong!" No one on the internet ever!

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  10. Ya know what now that I think about it... it happens to a lotta people not just on a blog but anywhere online in fact.
    I mean I know people have different opinions... And I remember everytime Ive gotten in an argument was not because they had a different opinion, but because they didnt ACCEPT mine. Ya know theres a difference between saying "I cannnot even imagining believing in that thing you believe in" and "I cannot even imagine that YOU'D BELIEVE IN SOMETHING LIKE THAT" A BIG DIFFERENCE.... And Ive had arguments with this too. And IDK If the convo you had went something like that or not. If it did it happens a LOT! You did the right thing. I mean isnt it better that you deleted them than feeling uncomfortable everytime you went on that post ?? And ask yourself this.. is that persons misunderstanding really worth feeling bad for ???

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  11. Shalaka that is another excellent point. "And I remember everytime Ive gotten in an argument was not because they had a different opinion, but because they didnt ACCEPT mine. " That was certainly the case the last time this happened.

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  12. Deb and Barb and I talked about this when I was there because I have had two incidences of this myself. I blogged about something once and I was really interested in what my readers thought until a few people told me to take it down in a bulling fashion. I didn't take it down and let the commens stand and shorty there after we went to defcon 100 in about a minute. A couple of budding friendships were lost but I felt okay as I would not be bullied and that is how I FELT. If I enter a discussion and someone doesn't get me I try and explain once or twice and if not understood I walk away. I defriend on FB if it needs it or I just tell them we need to agree to disagree. I often criticze certain states here in the US and one person was offended so we defriended each other. She was a FB friend who I didn't know but was friended because of a mutual friend. No harm no foul. Deb, you have the right to feel safe and loved and nurtured as you do that for so many of us and for you, you did the right thing by deleting.

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    1. Thanks Madge. Yeah bullying on the internet. That's a great topic isn't it? I have seen streams of stuff on FB and have marvelled at the comments and the hate and the bullying. In fairness though, mine were not hateful, nor bullying, they were just angry and disrespectful. The most frustrating part was that they misunderstood my point so thinking I was getting nowhere, I deleted. Sorry you went though this Madge as I know it was upsetting for you.

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  13. Dorothy Parker said, "I don't have to attend every argument I'm invited to."

    hi deb,

    i think that i would have done what Barb did ... let the comments stand, and trust that your readers would figure out the rest.

    you've pretty much nailed it, though: you know that if you put an opinion out into the world, you have to be prepared to listen to differing perspectives. then you choose whether to engage ... or not.

    HOWEVER, if the comments had in any way, had the potential to hurt any of your readers, then I would have deleted them.

    that's just the mama bear in me, raising her protective head.

    i loves me some dorothy parker, it IS a great quote

    (and so i'll say it again: "I don't have to attend every argument I'm invited to.")

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    1. I too love Dorothy Parker and I LOVE this quote Patti thanks. You bring up some very good points and I am starting to be able to focus my opinion on this issue. I think I was wrong to delete in this instance. I think I did it honestly, to protect myself. Given the fact that the person(s) did not say anything hateful or in that arena, I should have left it stand. But yes, if the comments were hurting our readers who felt safe enough to open up, then I would delete to protect. Hmmmm, maybe I should steal that police motto. My Blog-"Delete and Protect" In the future I will take it on a one to one basis. I will say though, after this last experience that after trying to explain myself three times to someone who refuses to re-read the post for clear understanding, I think rather than delete, I would simply stop responding to them. Does that make sense?

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  14. Deb,I don't think you should feel bad that you deleted the comment. I would have done the same thing if I were in your shoes. I think there is difference between being attacked and have a difference of oponion. Anyway you look at it Deb,I still dont think you should feel bad about deleting the comment.

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    1. Forgot to say that I am sorry that this happen Deb. I think people need to learn the oponion between being attacked and havin a difference of oponion.

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    2. Thanks Lyndsie, I know that of course there are worst things that could happen but I really wanted to hear what you guys thought and what you have experienced either blogging yourselves or on other people's blogs. I so appreciate all the comments, thanks.

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  15. Deb, I do not think that you did anything wrong in deleting the comment. I believe that this disgruntled poster should have realized, based on the comments by the rest of us, that this is a safe space and this kind of behavior is not welcome. Attacks on our two lovely fearless blog leaders don't just affect you, they affect us as well. It bothers me that someone was disrespectful to you, Deb. But I think in order to keep the good vibes and safety of this blog, sometimes we do what we have to do.

    I have absolutely zero tolerance for disrespect, and I would have done the exact same thing.

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    1. Yeah it is the respect issue Holly isn't it? In fairness though I think the poster thought that I was being disrespectful. I also think the poster had a personal axe to grind which I would have no way of really knowing. So from her point of view I was the disrespectful one.

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    2. I suppose looking at it from both sides helps (something I struggle with sometimes). You are right! :)

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  16. Hello Ladies,

    I have never commented before, but am an avid follower. Deb I so admire your "knee jerk" reaction. I feel as if I am part of both of your families, and anything that makes you uncomfortable, or your stomach churn, has no place on the blog or in your life. I have laughed, OMG'd, cried, and just plain loved your posts and the resulting discussions. There can be varying opinions, BUT there must be respect and an overall sense of safety, or it is time to pull the plug. You done good my dear, thank you!!

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    1. Welcome Jane and thanks for your comment. Please feel free to weigh in on issues. We would love to have you join it! I promise to keep you safe. :-)

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  17. There is respectful debate. There is passionate disagreement. And, then there are internet trolls.

    Trolls should be fed to dragons.

    Your blog. Your house rules.

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    1. Oh Rigel that made me howl! Internet trolls! Love it. Thanks.

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    2. Rigel !! How much I LOVE YOU !!!! Mwah! xoxo

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  18. I always find it quite humorous to see how some people comment under the invisibility cloak of the internet and how so many people have yet to learn that if you don't like something, you can chose not to listen, watch or follow. After I've read some of these, I realize that some people aren't even commenting on what was said, it likely just stirred an emotion from whatever baggage they may carry over the years and they found a venue to spew, as inappropriate as it may be. Debate is healthy and to enable that to happen in this type of context is commendable to you both. You also have a responsibility to ensure that the intent of your blog is honoured - for yourselves and your followers. To that end, high levels of discomfort to you would naturally be felt by others as well. If someone was cursing, you would delete it, likewise, with other types of abusive behaviour, you should do the same. I have recently tried to stop using the word mistake (that's when you tally up numbers incorrectly or misspell a word)and instead like to term things: learning moments. And that's definitely what you experienced, a learning moment regarding the level you will engage, the point in which you will ignore and when you will delete. If someone takes issue with a decision you made, they are welcome to use their energies elsewhere, but you are not responsible for their negativity.

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  19. Wow Therese that is great. Well said and delicious food for though. This whole thing has been a learning moment for me. Big learning moment. Thanks so much.

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  20. Aww...I know how difficult that is.
    I can't count the times, I've been acused of something, or was being insulted.

    It hurts. It hurts everytime.

    And I am a person, who becomes very insecure.

    But I've learned to stay strong.

    What I write, what I do...it's not a mistake. It's not wrong. It's me.

    So...whenever somebody says something ugly to me, I respond in an objective (is that the right word?) way.

    Most of the time, that doesn't help. Some people forget that there is an actual and real person on the other side of the internet. It's so easy to hide behind those webpages and avatars. They don't care, no matter what you say.

    So I simply ignore them. Sometimes I delete them. Sometimes I don't say anything at all.

    But I don't want it to affect me. Ever.

    When somebody writes something nasty...I sometimes laugh. Because I feel stronger. I know that I'm not that stupid. I know that I don't have to insult anybody. And that helps a lot. You should try that, too!

    I always try to be honest, even when I'm in the anonymous internet. Because I hate liars.

    If I have ever written something that was mean in any way...I'm sorry. I don't want to hurt anybody.

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  21. Becki thanks! Another great perspective. I need to add that to the list don't I? Not just whether or not to delete but whether or not to let it get to me. I will try that. Wise words and thanks for them.

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  22. Hey you guys, just want to say a sweeping: I love you all! I so appreciate how you've rallied here. To give your honest opinions in your loving and gracious ways! You truly are THE BEST.

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    1. I LOVE YOU MORE !!!!! Mwah! <3<3<3

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  23. Deb, I remember you had to deal with something like this sometime this past year (maybe longer?). Your response was patient, reasonable, and clever.
    The comment mentioned your high horse, and you responded that at least your horse was only a pony. I LOVED it.

    However, there is NO reason you should have to leave abusive comments up on your blog. Like you say, it is YOUR and Barb's blog. Neither of you deserve to be disrespected on your own blog, and certainly not as a personal attack. My opinion is that they're not worth arguing with. It's about as effective as banging your head against the wall.

    To delete or not to delete: Unfortunately, I don't think it's going to matter to you personally. I'm sure it was at least a little relief to delete them. However, if you like to go back and reread your blogs sometimes, you're going to see that thread. The more distance you have from it, the less you'll react to it. If you'd left the comments in, you'd flare up automatically at the absolute nerve of the commenter.

    How about this? Your blog, your comfort.

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    1. Your blog your comfort. I like that. And you are one of the people Dawn who talked about being upset when you have to look at the comments so I get that for sure. The truth is, I wish I could let them roll off my back and I do TRY and I will continue to, in the meantime, it gets the Irish up in me!

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  24. The way I see it with my blog, it's MY blog and not a forum for anyone else's bullshit. Because of that, comments on my blog require my approval before they're posted -- which means there are fewer comments, but also that no one gets away with anything. For instance, one disgrunted ex-wife of a local businessman found my blog and left a nice long libellous comment about what a horrible man he is. The nerve of her! I was glad pre-approval was required, that time.

    There have been times when things I've written have been misunderstood, or skewed by the mind of the reader. I remember being irritated and feeling misunderstood, but taking a deep breath, thinking about the comment, and responding graciously even though I didn't agree with the commenter's point of view or accusation. I felt I took the high road, which was empowering, even though I thought she was full of s_it.

    Bottom line? Your blog, your living room. If someone can't mind her manners, show her the door.

    That said, some serious disagreement between you and your faithful readers could make for interesting discussion! And I don't see much of that (disagreement) here; like is attracting like, it seems, more often than not. Even between you two -- Barbara and Deb -- your tagline is "different" points of view, but mostly you seem to agree on things.

    However, I prefer that to conflict. Your blog is a nice place to visit; a meeting of friends.

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    1. So funny Kate that you should bring up Barb and I with our "different opinions" as you are right. We mostly agree. But not always. Maybe three times in the whole two years! Funny huh? I would say we more often have different takes on things. But you bring up another good point and that is what the blog has become to us and to people who follow it. It is a nice place to visit, a meeting of friends. And you know what? We are proud of that. Because that is how it naturally evolved. That I suppose is what makes it sting when anger arises. It always shocks me. I know it shouldn't but it does. Thanks.

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    2. I agree! (okay, couldn't resist). It's really true that Deb and I intended to have different opinions when we first started to blog -- but I guess that was a manufactured conceit that couldn't really work if we are such like-minded thinkers to begin with! But we certainly believed that it was OKAY to disagree -- and to say as much in a respectful way.

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    3. I'm still waiting for you two to get down to a serious mudwrestle!
      :)

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  25. love and respect you, Deb love everything about your blog you have made me laugh and cry and fill so great you have done nothing nothing wrong 99% of people love you to bad for that 1%

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    1. Donna, boy that one percent has been a real theme in the world this year! :-) Thank you.

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  26. This reminds me of an old Buddhist story:
    "Two traveling monks reached a river where they met a young woman. Wary of the current, she asked if they could carry her across. One of the monks hesitated, but the other quickly picked her up onto his shoulders, transported her across the water, and put her down on the other bank. She thanked him and departed.

    As the monks continued on their way, the one was brooding and preoccupied. Unable to hold his silence, he spoke out. "Brother, our spiritual training teaches us to avoid any contact with women, but you picked that one up on your shoulders and carried her!"

    "Brother," the second monk replied, "I set her down on the other side, while you are still carrying her."

    My point is that I think you might find the solace you need in contemplating why you personally are carrying that remark around with you even having deleted it from the page." Clearly, deleting it did not erase it from your mind. While most people on this blog would probably agree with you that the comment was coming from a less than kind place, not everyone would have (or did) react the same way that you did. So the real work is in figuring out why you got so attached to it--not how to "strike back" most effectively. Having said that, I think you made an intelligent decision to take it down--I think your inner wisdom knew that it was evoking stress & injecting venom into your sacred space and you had every right to draw a boundary. Don't add insult to injury by doubting your own inner voice who knows exactly what you need. with love & compassion--Lori

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    1. Lori-another excellent point. I don't really know why. I will say that I have all my life suffered from the strong desire to be liked. If there are twenty people in a room who love me I will try to impress the one who doesn't! Seriously though I am not that bad anymore but I sure used to be. Don't we all like to be well thought of? Clearly I still have a few issues with it. thanks for your insight.

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    2. Lori, as always, utterly beautiful and true. The story is gorgeous in its simplicity. I do want to add though -- and, Deb, you may disagree!-- but Deb called me as she was writing this piece and basically said she was "over it" and wondered if she should even bother to write about it anymore. I guess I kinda encouraged her, thinking as I did that it was such a fundamental question in the bloggy world that it bore discussion. After a long talk, Deb and I decided to wade in. And ta-da!

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  27. I totally agree with your decision Deb. It is your blog and you need to feel comfortable with all that is posted here. The internet can be a rough place sometimes. I find it best to just move on rather quickly. : )

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    1. Yeah Kelly you're right. Move on quickly. Good point!

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  28. What a bummer. I guess in life there will always be someone that disagrees. Then there are those who disagree and go at it the right way; and on the flipside, those who go at it the wrong way.

    Meanwhile....I'm playing referee. Just brought the new kitty home. Our current kitty...is unhappy to say the least. We'll see how this goes

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    1. Kelly you got it! Don't mind the disagree but the way some people go about it. Unhappy kitty! Oh how I know that. When we brought the new puppy home the old gal pup was not at all happy! The good news is-it got better!

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    2. I hope it gets better! Right now they're both asleep in separate rooms. The hissing has temporarily ceased. :]

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  29. Husband and I taking the pooch to the beauty parlour this morning - and were were having a discussion about this very sort of thing (different context) - cosmic! I felt my heart rate increase - as I began to get stressed and upset about a situation he was having. I thought of my feelings when I read "The Daily Mail UK" - and when other readers write in - some with lovely supportive comments, and others with nasty, bitter, hurtful attacks. It makes me shake my head - as these negative types clearly wish to showboat their unhappiness - and perhaps try to garner support for their poor 'glass half empty' attitude toward life. Maybe it makes them feel powerful. And then I pulled out my phone to read today's blog...
    Power to you for deleting the hurtful nasties. I commend your courage to do so - and commitment to your well-being. Isn't that what we all wish to be - strong enough to eliminate the negatives (within our power to do so), be true to ourselves, kind toward others and touch people's lives in a good way. I know you as a woman of tremendous tenacity, kindness, empathy and integrity. And about a million other wonderful things that make it so easy to be around you Deb- you are magnetic! Thank you for showing us all the strength and honesty you did today. it is empowering. Kim ox

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    1. I love the idea of this kind of choice being "empowering". That really resonates with me.

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    2. Wow Kim, thank you so much. So interesting that your whole morning revolved around this kind of thing. I liked when you said "showboat their unhappiness". Yes, good point. That is what they are doing isn't it. I very much appreciate this story and your point of view. I hope your husband's situation improves very soon!

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  30. Hello to all,

    IMO, Deb, I agree with your decision to delete the comments because this is your blog. Some people don't grasp well the "Can't we agree to disagree" concept, or just won't accept when they make a mistake in misunderstanding/misinterpreting one's point of view. If you felt that person was disrespectful, no need to tolerate it. Lord knows I won't. I always say "Give respect to receive respect", and be acceptant of other's opinions, even if you don't agree with them. But unfortunately not many people understand or accept that.

    Just my two cents. Much love to all. Take care everyone.

    Sheyla

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    1. Sheyla wow, we could write a book, all of us with these great phrases today. "Give respect to receive respect". True enough. And thank you.

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  31. On the one hand you should feel safe in your own blogspace. On the other so should other people even if their comments are not liked by anyone else - even if they're disliked for very good reason. Your readers are capable of drawing their own conclusions from interactions in your comments section, yet at the same time having aggressive or poorly mannered comments could potentially damage the "safe zone" that you have set up so that we can share opinions without fear.
    That's what I'm tossing back and forth in my head with no answer to give you. Although I did read the last two comments remaining from your last encounter and I have to say that when I saw how you were being talked to I was not happy. I totally understand where you're coming from; and, like I said, have absolutely no solution for you :D

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    1. Thanks Aimee because you really showed both sides of the coin. For my part I have to admit that this person made me so mad that I did not handle myself the way I usually do. I got spiteful in defence. I really don't like that side of myself and I take full responsibility for that. It should be a democratic space though, I see your point on that too and I thank you for this side of things. At this point I am feeling so grateful for all the great advise I have received today. Not a bad one in the lot. I guess, like life, I am going to have to take this one blog by blog.

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    2. I only read the last 2 comments but I didn't see any spite. Even if I had, I would've understood where you were coming from and would have realised that you were behaving in a way different to your usual self. I am SURE that I'm not the only one who would see it that way.
      Basically, if you did misbehave a little every now and then it wouldn't be too much of a big deal because you have enough merit points (from your everyday lovely self) to get you through ;)

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  32. Right on, Sistas! It's certainly OK to disagree, but there needs to be an element of respect. No one should be attacked for their opinions. I think you did right on this. Lori made an excellent point about still carrying it with you. I have a hard time letting go when I feel attacked. I don't know the solution, but for those of us that love to come to your blog, come because we love you. We must forgive when we feel attacked and work hard not to make anyone feel like we wouldn't want to feel. Feelings are hard to put into words. I hope I've made some sense. ((hugs))

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    1. You have made sense Molly and it is deeply felt, thank you. Today I have been able to let go of this I think. That is the best part of it. I have gotten world class therapy today and have seen fifty sides and points of one issue. I am the better for it I hope.

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  33. I’m reminded of the adage “if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all”. There are ways, many ways, to have a differing opinion without being disrespectful. If you felt it was disrespectful then you had every right to delete the comments, you would protect your home from disrespect why not your “internet home”?
    I think, and it’s possible I’m way off base here, that what is bothering you is that you feel it was in some way an emotional or knee-jerk reaction. That you worry when a response wasn’t thought out and was instead emotional that you can’t be certain you did what was “right” and it is clear that doing what is “right” is something you always strive to do.
    Or at least that’s how I am if I respond to a situation in a way that feels emotional I end up questioning myself. Most of the time I come to the conclusion that thought and consideration couldn’t have given me a better option. I didn’t see the comments myself but I’m confident you wouldn’t have done it lightly and did what you felt was best at the moment. Can’t ask for anything more than that even from our selves.

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  34. Erin! Another good one. Your Internet home. And of course in some ways, given the time we all spend on it, it becomes a part of what our home is. And when any part of that home is invaded, we protect. I see that it is part and parcel of the same thing, so thank you for that. You have hit on a very interesting area. Home from home computer-has a church and state kind of thing going on doesn't it. So great. More food for though. My brain is gaining weight!!!!!!!!

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  35. Its your's and Barb's show....we trust you both to keep us entertained, engaged, enlightened....and yes....edited! Don't come here for anger and angst!
    Next time I suggest you respond with..."No soup for you..come back..1 year!"

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  36. I'm a little late, but just wanted to say that I support you both completely. There's nothing wrong with a healthy debate, but there's no excuse for just being plain rude and disrespectful. It doesn't get anyone anywhere and it certainly doesn't give any validity to their point of view - rather the opposite. Your blog, your rules, honest opinions dosed with love and respect all round. Anyone who doesn't want to play nicely can sling their hook. :)

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  37. Deb, just had to chuckle when you said above that you got "snarky" (or something like that) in your response to the disrespectful commenter. This happens to me once in a while with email; you know how easy it is to misread the tone of an email. My natural response is to get snarky in return; I have mostly learned not to hit the Send button when I feel that way. Oh I WANT to hit the Send button, yes I do!!!! But I'm always glad that I didn't. Usually instead I do the "Kill 'em with kindness" thing. This is because in my job I try to be diplomatic and "professional" and so even upon occasion when I run across someone with a big diva head or unreasonable demands, I still play the "Nothing ruffles me" game. "You may be an asshole," I can think, "but I am not sinking to your level. And I'm STILL not going to do everything you want." Tempted as I sometimes am to tell someone what I think of their behaviour and attitude-- and sometimes, well, people NEED to be told! Don't they? Lately I've been practising giving my husband the deserved gears With A Smile On My Face. His reaction is quite different than when I do not appear to be speaking lightly. I think he actually hears me.

    Sometimes just the fact that our opinions and attitudes are what they are, seem disrespectful to others, no matter how we express them. Example: I think when a woman takes another person's surname at marriage, she is doing herself a disservice. Now no matter how sweetly I say that, a woman who has taken a man's name is going to feel I have no business feeling sorry for her or thinking she is weak or unduly traditional or feeding the patriarchal beast. She will have her own reasons for doing so and if I think they are poor and even unexamined reasons, it's going to seem disrespectful to her, plain and simple. So ... do I have to tell her what I think? Nope. It's not my business what she does, or why, although if it's a good friend you might think we could at least discuss it before she gets married. Still ... it's risky to do so. And I find that as I'm getting older, I'm more willing to let certain discussions not take place. I don't know if it's fear of conflict and losing friendships because certain subjects seem to create hostility, or what.

    For a woman who's breastfeeding her kid till he's ready to quit, beyond the time limits our society tries to impose, and doing it blatantly and publicly, your (generic "your") discomfort with / criticism of / musings about it can seem judgmental. It won't matter how you put your misgivings or ponderings. If you do anything but clap your hands in approval and support, you are "part of the problem, not the solution." You can't win, really.

    Except with us, of course!

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  38. I think that you ladies do a great job at communicating the feelings and thoughts behind the words that you type. Growing up I was taught to be respectful in other persons house. The same rule applies to blogs. Be respectful. You don't have to agree with what has been written, and it is better to hold your tongue then have regrets of words that cannot be taken back.
    With blogging, I find that it is easier for people to pretend to be "braver" with typing then would be in person.
    I have always enjoyed your blog and will continue to do so with a smile and a thank you for allowing me into your home.

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  39. Personally, I don't get the whole slamming/troll thing. It's like the TV. If you are reading someone's blog that you don't like/disagree/etc why post any comment? Just go read something else! Turn it off. I think the folks who feel the need to spew venom are doing it not to educate on their position but just to stir up trouble. They fall into the category of having "way too much time on their hands"

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