a node at the edge  

September 07, 2002
MetabloggingNote from Management

I get private email communications all the time based on my postings, and most are great.

Sometimes people will write because I have made a typo or a grammatical error, and I really appreciate this. I prefer not to make these kinds of mistakes, but can get excited when I write and not notice the problem at first. These kinds of emails are very helpful.

Sometimes people will send gentle notes to let me know I've gone over the edge, I've lost my perspective, or I've been unnecessarily rough. Again, I appreciate this. I am nothing if not a passionate person, but I genuinely don't want to be mean or cruel, or pedantic or tiresome. Only a friend would take the time to let me know that I'm heading in a direction they know I'll regret at some point.

Sometimes people will want to agree or disagree with that I write and want to chat offline. Well, I consider this a treat. I am a richer person by hearing your views, and being allowed to discuss mine. Most sincere thanks for this gift of time you give me.

However, there are times when I get people who want to say hurtful, vicious, demeaning, and abusive things offline. By doing so, they can dump on me but still maintain a persona of sweetness and light with the world. This passive aggressive technique is, to me, about one of the most dispicable things a person can do.

When people (a very few people) indulge in these sorts of emails, it leaves me tired, hurt, and very touchy. Then I react online and the rest of my readers haven't a clue why I'm so cranky, or why I'm reacting so strongly to certain events. Or worse; they wonder why am I lashing out at such as generous and kind hearted person.

I don't like getting emails that tell me that I'm sick, I'm sad, no wonder I'm single because I'm such a bitch and nobody would have me, I'm a loser, I have no life, or today's particular treasure which stated that I blamed this person for all the problems in my life, and that this was pathetic.

Say what? No offense to any of you, but none of you have that kind of power over me. But these kind of emails wear me down.

So, here's my new plan. I've replied to the sender of the recent email the following:

    No more. If you want to talk with me, do it in public. No more of these personal attacks in my email. If you're so proud of what you have to say to me, say it in public.

I have received abuse from this person for months. Next time I get an email from this same source, it goes online. And this person is more than welcome to print anything I say privately online if they wish. I am not ashamed of what I write.

There is a difference between disagreeing with a person and abusing them. And I'm tired of being abused.

Thanks for your time. End of management memo.

Posted by Bb at September 07, 2002 04:24 PM

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I say you post the emails online now. It's time to shine a little light on the cowards who hide behind their "firewall".

Posted by: Ryan on September 7, 2002 04:42 PM

I came pretty damn close Ryan. Especially after today. But I felt if I did this without warning the person first, I would disappoint some folks around here who are kind of important to me.

Posted by: Shelley aka Bb on September 7, 2002 06:21 PM

Whoever you are, you whom BB is writing about: You suck. You just *suck*, okay?

I got this kind of crap from a mailing list I once ran -- had no interest in the subject, but thought it was important to run the list anyway. Eventually I got so worn down by it that I left the list to others.

It's cowardly to do that kind of thing in private when you wouldn't dare do it publicly. It's nasty. Cut it out, you, whoever you are.

(And no, it's bloody well not me. When I'm nasty, it's public and it's usually unintentional.)

Posted by: Dorothea Salo on September 7, 2002 07:13 PM

You want I should rough 'em up a bit, boss?

Posted by: stavrosthewonderchicken on September 7, 2002 09:18 PM

Shelley, you are both honestly human and honorably humane as a blogger. I am one of those who appreciate that. So, I say yup. Expose that coward. No mercy for the merciless.

Posted by: Elaine of Kalilily on September 7, 2002 09:24 PM

To heck with 'em Shelley. Post their abusive stuff at will. Or forward it to friends who can give you honest feedback and support if you don't want go public with the abuse.

That's what I think. And if that don't work, me and the wonder chicken can take 'em out back.

Posted by: Frank on September 7, 2002 10:25 PM

Thanks mi amigos and amigas.

I have high hopes that this posting and my earlier email will serve to dissuade this person from private emails, and that's all I care about. Seriously.

Stavros, sweeties, I miss your weblog.

Posted by: Shelley aka Bb on September 7, 2002 10:37 PM

Lets hope so. Online we are what we write. Anyone anonymously vituperative is beneath contempt.

Posted by: Kevin on September 8, 2002 01:15 AM

drag them into the bright light of day.

you know that i will play

Posted by: the head lemur on September 8, 2002 10:50 AM

large, manly & well built scotsman standing by....

Posted by: gary on September 9, 2002 03:09 PM

I seriously doubt there will be any further communique of that nature. I've dealt with people like that far more than I care to recall (sweetness and light in public discussions, viscious and abusive privately) both online and offline. Threat of exposure is usually the most effective approach in dealing with them. I'm behind you 100%, anything you need you just ask.

Posted by: rev on September 9, 2002 03:30 PM

Yeah, go PorridgeBoy, I'm with you - at your and everybody else's side. I'll whip the South African contingent into shape [bar Farrago and Alka, things have been a bit slow down here, but I have been there before and know the territory].

Physically, PB's not really large, manly or well built [he is described elsewhere], but he is diabolical and evil and his legend is such that he has great stature among his enemies who fear him greatly so, yes, take him at his word and take his allies as well.

Shell, you've obviously given fair warning. While I'd like to see the offender drawn, quartered, gutted and disembowelled [slowly], I too have correspondence that has been ever so politely abusive. It was a while ago. I've found that there is a pathological pattern to it. The person just cannot let up and deserves the whip if they do not stop their crap.

I don't know if you'll find the same but, if you do, I'm in there for you and there will be a bloodbath. Thee is no place for this sort of thing where people are putting their hearts on the line, day after day.

We have our blogs and our blogs are all we need. Dorothea and I have both unintentionally cut each other recently and I think we both agree that while both of us probably felt the need to say [and did say] "Stop apologizing", the public honesty of our misunderstanding led to something healthy rather than a private war descending into the tacky, dirty, and sordid [not that we'd ever have got there, Dorothea, but had we I'd have fled before your flashing words :)].

Exploring what hurts, no matter how blindly, can be good if openly done. For Heaven's sake, for good or bad, we are all in this together. If such attacks [for that is what they are] are undertaken furtively or anonymously, there's only one phrase that fits: "No mercy".

And, yes, Chris, get back to it. I retract my marriage proposal. Unequivocally. I'm sorry if it hurt you. I've decided we can just be good friends, after all. No matter how much it hurts me, of course...

Posted by: Mike Golby on September 9, 2002 03:51 PM

Chris, now that Golby has backed off, I hope you will be able to consider my proposition seriously. Nobody makes better toast and jam and morning coffee than I do!

Posted by: Frank on September 9, 2002 04:24 PM

Ah'm all aflutter! Lawdy, lawdy, I do declare, Ah think ah mahght have the vapours with all these handsome men-folk a-wooin'!

Posted by: stavrosthewonderchicken on September 9, 2002 09:06 PM

I guess we all know it was Dave Winer now. Surprise, surprie, surprise...

Posted by: Jay on September 9, 2002 11:27 PM

Jay, it was wrong of me to reference the email, but when I saw the comment at Ben's, about our exchange of emails and the dismissal of behavior based on Ben's article, I burned when I should have simmered.

Two wrongs don't make a right and I was wrong at that particular time.

Posted by: Shelley aka Bb on September 10, 2002 07:52 AM

Um, I confess I'm not surprised, though I didn't actually guess. Had an email exchange with the individual in question a while back. One exchange sufficed.

My earlier comment stands; I see no reason to change it now that I know at whom it is aimed.

You didn't cut me, Mike; all you did was accidentally tear a few bandages off very old wounds. And I agree that what emerged was better said outright than left to fester.

Posted by: Dorothea Salo on September 10, 2002 08:22 AM

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