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Physician, heal thyself

Posted Wednesday, August 8, 2007, at 2:20 PM

When we first started setting things up here, I worried that some of our first-time bloggers wouldn't be familiar with trolls or flame wars or some of the ways in which an Internet argument can turn ugly. I was concerned that some of them would take it too personally when someone disagreed with them. Being an experienced blogger, and an even more experienced participant in various Internet discussion groups, I wanted to share my wisdom and experience with them.

Well, guess what?

There have been one or two commenters in our blog area that have gotten my goat, and even though I know I should let the matter drop I keep trying to defend myself. I'm behaving, in short, like an Internet newbie.

The basic issue has to do with how we chose our community bloggers. We put out an open call for bloggers back in June, and took pretty much everyone who responded promptly, without regard to their politics or religion. The others we put on a waiting list, and you'll be seeing some of them turn up in the next few weeks.

The trouble is that one or two people have been whining because they don't have blogs -- even though, in at least one case, they never actually asked for one. I keep going through these long explanations of how we selected our bloggers and about why it's not practical for us to offer an unlimited number of blogs to anyone who asks. But every time I repeated my arguments, I sounded more and more pompous. Everything I wrote was true, and I stand behind it, but I think I've started to come across as a know-it-all.

I should know better. Expressing yourself on the Internet, whether through your own blog, or responding to someone else's blog, or participating in some sort of bulletin board, mailing list or discussion group, requires you to have broad shoulders. Sometimes, it's best to just stop responding and let everyone figure out for themselves who's trying to have a meaningful discussion and who's just trying to cause trouble.

It's a good lesson. I expected to be the one teaching it, not the one learning it.


Comments
Showing comments in chronological order
[Show most recent comments first]

Gee wonder who you think the troublemakers are?

-- Posted by Vindicated on Wed, Aug 8, 2007, at 2:30 PM

Ok Maybe I am missing the point of a comment section here but if I do not agree with the blogger and I disagree with him, and I voice my opinion I am considered a troublemaker?

I am sorry but I do not see it that way. If you open up a blog to comments then you will have to expect people to disagree.Thank God we all do not think alike!!! If you don't like being disagreed with close the comment sections of your bloggers but also watch the hits on your website fall.

-- Posted by Dianatn on Wed, Aug 8, 2007, at 3:13 PM

No, I'm not saying that someone is a troublemaker for disagreeing. Real, back-and-forth dialogue is exactly the purpose of these blogs. I was referring to one or two specific people who seemed intent on badmouthing the newspaper and accusing us of something we pretty clearly did not do.

-- Posted by Jicarney on Wed, Aug 8, 2007, at 3:18 PM

Dianatn i told him this exact thing the other day...

So since when have the people who disagreed with the way YOUR PAPER is organized become troublemakers...

Like she said, if you don't like our opinions, then take away the comment section, and we have not ruined it for anyone, because apparently nobody else cares!

It is a complete contradiction to EXPECT feedback, and then CRITICIZE it when you get it... just be glad some people are talking on here...And when you come at us with negative blogs do NOT expect POSITIVE FEEDBACK

-- Posted by darrick_04 on Wed, Aug 8, 2007, at 3:22 PM

Don't put words in my mouth. I never said that people shouldn't disagree with me. I said that there comes a point when I need to stop responding to people. Everyone is entitled to an opinion, and we're allowing everyone to express that opinion in this forum, including opinions critical of the T-G.

My only complaint -- and it doesn't involve any of the people who have responded so defensively to this post! -- is with someone who keeps accusing us of giving blog accounts only to people who agree with us. (If you knew anything about the T-G newsroom, you'd know that we don't even agree with each other.) That's goes beyond opinion into the realm of accusation. When someone accuses me, I have the right to defend myself.

There's a difference between expressing your opinion and saying something just to provoke a response. I have not, and will not, prevent this person from making his/her false accusations; all I've done is call the person a troublemaker.

-- Posted by Jicarney on Wed, Aug 8, 2007, at 3:37 PM

What words were put in your mouth? I didn't say people disagreed with YOU, check the reading... I SAID because people DISAGREE WITH THE WAY YOUR PAPER IS ORGANIZED...

You alone do not organize the paper and/or the blogs do you? If you do, I am sorry.

That's fine, but you said "ONE OR TWO COMMENTERS"... And I have never accused you of catering to the religious people... or to those that agree with you! I am in NO way causing trouble, I am being a pro active member of this community! And that's why it sounds like you are pompous when you say it like that!!!!!!!

-- Posted by darrick_04 on Wed, Aug 8, 2007, at 3:45 PM

It was dianatn, not you, who I was accusing of putting words in my mouth. She was the one that implied that I didn't want anyone to disagree with me in this forum.

-- Posted by Jicarney on Wed, Aug 8, 2007, at 3:59 PM

ok i was a little confused, thanks for the clarification!!!!!! ;)

-- Posted by darrick_04 on Wed, Aug 8, 2007, at 4:05 PM

Excuse me!!!!! I never put words in your mouth you seem to be doing that for yourself.

Look at the end of the sentence I wrote to you do you see a question mark there doesn't that imply that it is a question not a statement!

-- Posted by Dianatn on Wed, Aug 8, 2007, at 4:36 PM

HAHA!!! i see a ?

-- Posted by darrick_04 on Wed, Aug 8, 2007, at 4:58 PM

I, for one, LOVE the new website. The whole reason I quit subscribing to the newspaper was because the "who said that?" column was discontinued. I know some of ya'll may think that is a stupid part of the paper to favor, but, being a stay at home mom who is out of the loop I never know what is going on, so it was a way of finding out things without using my name and feeling stupid.

-- Posted by countrymom on Wed, Aug 8, 2007, at 7:06 PM

I can completely relate to you with this. Most of my responses, I use the past experiences that I've already been through, to prove my opinion. Again, I state it's only my opinion, which again, is another reason for blogs. Some people tend to disagree with me, and lash out using their responses, no matter if it's dealing with my topic in hand or not, just to start a comotion. I won't sit here and voice my opinion then turn around and call your's stupid. I'll simply prove my opinion, and hope you feel the same.

-- Posted by weezie84 on Wed, Aug 8, 2007, at 9:08 PM

I like the blogs. I like it that the blogger gets to express their opinion and then I have the option of expressing mine. No one forces me to read the paper or the blogs. No one forces me to agree with the blogger. I take what I like and leave the rest along with my opinion.

Some of the comments remind me of the folks that complain about certain shows on television. This show or that show offends them. However instead of changing the channel or just turning the television off they will tune in and then complain that the show is on. Oh well it's a free country and I guess that's their right also.

William

-- Posted by HorseGentler on Thu, Aug 9, 2007, at 7:26 AM


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John I. Carney is city editor of the Times-Gazette.
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