Sunday, August 26, 2007

what happened to the internet?

I have been posting quite a bit in the past couple of months. I have also been leaving comments on other blogs. Usually I do this when I see or read something I like. I was told that this would drive more people to look at my blog, and though that is somewhat self interested, why else would I put things up on the information superhighway unless I wanted strangers to have a look? It sure makes the whole process worthwhile. Maybe I would even make real internet friends that didn’t want to sell me on a bigger penis.

My best friend in the world is French Panic. She also leaves posts on blogs. Sometimes people think that her comments are mean and cruel. I know they aren’t, but then I have the advantage of knowing her in human form, others do not. Without using emoticons (which don’t count as letters or language, you know) it is hard to establish the subtleties of human speech. Thus, she finds herself misunderstood far too often.

I had the mistaken impression that when you put a comment section on your website or blog, you expected to receive feedback and had accepted that some of that feedback may be negative, or at the very least, it wouldn’t always be ‘you rock!’

So Panic pointed out something that wasn’t quite right in a blog by some person that she had nothing against really. It was not meant to insult, but apparently one is not to disagree with the blogger or she/he will incur the wrath of the blogger and all of the blogger’s friends.

What did I do about this? I saw how the electronic conversation was going and added my own informed opinion. All that schooling has to have some practical use. I thought that what I had said would maybe clarify the issue. I did spend some time of my life dealing with the topic at hand.

One of the blogger’s friends decided that I didn’t have the right to reply. Somehow the logic of said friend rushing to defend the original blogger didn’t apply to me.

You can read the whole affair here, but I wouldn’t comment if I were you.

Apparently I caused someone a headache with all my properly spelt words. I hate having headaches myself and I felt pretty bad about this, so I re-read my initial comment. I did suggest that the person was ill-informed. But I tried to soften it up with a ‘have a brilliant day.’ Again, if only I would embrace the emoticon, the lack of irony in my ‘brilliant day’ sign off would have been more obvious.

It is probably a flaw in my character that I can’t let an argument just die. Why should I care that someone disagrees with me? More to the point, why should I care that a perfect stranger, that could just be another computer programmed to respond with random letters, doesn’t like what I’ve typed out?

I thought that the internet would provide for better communication between people. That was the intent. When blogs came along, despite the fact that I hate the word ‘blog’ I figured it was a great way to have your own soapbox outside of a university class. Write something or show a bit of artwork and you have an instant forum to discuss without having to pay several thousand bucks a year.


There is a strange code of behaviour within the blog world with even more made up words. Apparently what I was doing was ‘flaming’ a comment section, and that is frowned upon.

Now had I said, “You dumb shit. You don’t know anything, fucking loser” I would agree. That would be hateful, mean, and wrong. But I just thought we were having a debate.

What the whole experience has taught me is:

1. Reasonable, articulate people are harder to come upon than I imagined.
2. Folks don’t like disagreement, even polite disagreement.
3. Emoticons are stupid, but until people find a way to read something without adding their own perceptions to text, it might be worth learning a couple. Maybe just the smiley face one... oh and that winking one would be good too.
4. The kids out there really do need to learn to spell. Come on. If I can get most of my words right, surely those that believe themselves much smarter than me can manage the same.
5. I have far too much free time on my hands at the moment. I need a proper hobby that doesn't involve my precious computer.

If you wish to leave a comment on my little blog, feel free. When can discuss things reasonably. I will even agree to admit that I am wrong. You can blast me with hate even. In the end, I just really want traffic... (and maybe a couple of faceless internet friends.)


carrie said...


that said, hi! being it as I happen to be the blogger in question I feel compelled to offer my 'two cents'.

at the time French Panic left her comment, I didn't have the time or the inclination to go into the subject although I care about it or I wouldn't have written about it on my other blog at zaadz.

So I left a flippant answer not meant to be rude... I just don't have as much time as I used to to answer comments as thoroughly as I liked. I knew there was something going on but I wasn't really paying attn. to it.

I had no negative reaction to French Panics statements. I enjoy a good discussion coming from different perspectives. I am interested in these other ways of seeing a situation.

F.P. and I come from different sides of the story and it is helpful for these two sides to communicate.

Any seeming defensiveness coming from a reader of my blog could likely be due to my having been under an onslaught of attacks for about the past six months.

Finally, I've put a stop to that, but I think some of my readers think that the attack might start to come from different, previously un-heard from sides.

Sometimes even the smiley face can be seen as rude or condescending. It all depends on how you choose to take what someone is typing.

Canopenner really is a good guy, but maybe he likes to defend me or argue a little bit. I honestly don't think he really meant any malice.

you're right... i dislike intensely when blogs only want positive comments that agree with everything the blogger says and does. why can't you allow someone to disagree and express that? the thing i don't like is personal attacked viciously trying to hurt someone or disrupt their blog.

i think people just need to try to see things positively and focus on positive thinking at the expense of negative thinking.

some people, myself included, are better at this when medicated... self- or otherwise.

i linked you on my blog because you seem interesting and sensible.

Wilma said...

You dumb shit. You don’t know anything, fucking loser.

Now if I could figure out how to leave an emoticon, it would show me with my tongue firmly in my cheek winking at you.

french panic said...

I'm your best friend? Dude, I don't even know who you are!

Pamplemousse said...

Thanks for the comment carrie. I'm glad we cleared all that up. I understand that your readers might be defensive, considering the nasty comments you've received. I'd have my back up a little too. I'm not sure I understand the reason someone would be so hostile to you. Virtual drama is a whole new concept for me.

Mostly I was motivated to write this because I didn't want to be seen as an angry blogger. I think French Panic feels the same way, but she can't seem to remember me today.

I still think I need a proper hobby away from my machine. My clicking finger is beginning to hurt.

And to wilma, somedays I actually am a dumb shit (stupid smiley face with one dopey eye here).