I've gone back and forth whether to write about today's topic, mainly because this isn't really the proper place for it. (What is the right spot will be clear soon enough.) Since it's one of the things occupying my thoughts, I've decided to go ahead and tackle it here. Understand that this is not an issue for whatever readership I have left at this blog.
As some of you know, I keep another blog where I post film reviews and use my real name. I'd been letting it slide for awhile, in part due to some weirdness that I'll not bother to explain, but finally got around to doing a massive update to it recently.
To my knowledge, I don't have a regular readership. Instead, I tend to get visitors funneled to my blog via a review aggregate site. Chances are these people must find my pullquotes sufficiently interesting or infuriating to check out what I had to say.
Most of these people look at one review and go on their merry way. Other than seeing their hits in my site traffic data, I have no other proof of their visits. That's fine.
Then there are those rare ones who have something to get off their chests. Most of the time their comments are brief; sometimes they leave big footprints. Rarer still are those who choose to send an e-mail rather than post a comment. Inevitably, though, these folks share one thing: a desire to direct anonymous and unremittingly nasty and crude anonymous jabs about and at me.
Look, I know they're trying to get a rise out of me. That's evident enough when they compulsively return to the particular post to see if I've responded--something I never do--or have deleted their comments. (I'm consistent in removing vulgar comments or personal attacks. I don't use that kind of language on the site and won't tolerate it from some hotheaded stranger.)
Today brought someone who obviously didn't like something I'd written. He--and it's surely a he--then made a nonsensical connection to another film that I must have reviewed more favorably. (I didn't.) Then he dropped a veiled racist comment and called me a pretty ugly name.
Whatever. Fine. I don't like getting that garbage, but I realize that having random strangers deciding you're one of the worst people in the world because you dare to publish opinions about movies on the internet (and thus obviously think you're better than everyone else) comes with the territory.
I removed the comment only to find several hours later that the same person had come back and posted the exact same thing again, this time with the added bonus of making a new Blogger profile to call me out as the top verboten term for the female anatomy. This is coupled with someone else in recent days who insulted me and keeps checking to see if I've deleted his comment or responded. (In this instance I haven't taken it down yet because I figure he'll eventually wear himself out and stop checking.) So I've gone to comment moderation and will probably shut down comments altogether.
What I just don't understand is how some people get so angry at a stranger over something pretty inconsequential that they absolutely must let the writer know how terrible he is in the crudest possible terms. OK, so we have different opinions on what we like? That's deserving of spitting venom? I'm not exactly a provocateur in how I write, so such hate-filled reactions catch me off guard.
Does it make me angry? Regrettably, sometimes it does get under my skin. I know, consider the source. Plus, at least I'm standing behind my words with my name, which is more than these people do. Nevertheless, I'm saddened when I see this internet cowardice masquerading as speaking truth to power, whether it's aimed at me or my colleagues. How deeply unhappy and pathetic must one be to waste even a minute or less to engage in such behavior?
As I said up top, I've not stirred up this kind of reactions on the blog. Let's not start it either. Or at least hold off until I say (insert your favorite yarn) is splitty.
Labels: communication, internet, technology