A Note on Etiquette from Your TPD Nanny

Howdy everyone, OtherLisa here.

I’ve gotten a number of responses since I started commenting and guest-posting on Richard’s blog. Some of them have been positive (and for those of you who have complimented me, I deeply appreciate it. Thank you). Others, well, not so much. But of the criticisms I’ve received and the names I’ve at times been called, I don’t think I’ve ever been accused of rudeness (or not too much, anyway). Which is why I feel qualified to write this brief note.

Lately a lot of comments here have been, well, rude. It seems to be a cyclical thing, and we are in one of those name-calling cycles again. It needs to stop, or at least die down to a reasonable, low-level flame.

What do I mean by “rude” and “name-calling”? I’m not referring to vigorously expressed differences of opinion. I’m referring to personal attacks these differences of opinion sometimes prompt.

It’s a personal attack when you call somebody a “fat ass” or “stupid” or a “hack” in response to a disagreement. It’s a personal attack when you call somebody a racist unless you have very good evidence to support that opinion. It’s perfectly okay to say, “this comment strikes me as racist,” or “this opinion is ill-informed” – even “stupid.” But that doesn’t make the person who made the comment either a racist or stupid by definition. And it’s not “trolling” to disagree.

It’s hard to judge what’s in other peoples’ heads and hearts. We’ve all got to allow each other room for mistakes of expression, for errors of ignorance. We’ve got to give each other room for growth.

I’m not saying there aren’t times when somebody deserves to be slapped down, and hard, but it seems to me that we’ve set the bar pretty low here lately. The blog and the comments are supposed to be a forum of discussion, for exchange of ideas, for socializing, etc. They aren’t for engaging in juvenile pissing contests.

I’m speaking on Richard’s behalf on this general topic because he’s got way too much on his plate to deal with this right now, but the specific opinions I’ve expressed here are my own, so please direct flames at me rather than him.

(one more note: I rarely edit comments. When I do, I will put my name in the edited comment so you’ll know it’s me)

The Discussion: 36 Comments

Lisa, well said. There’s places for that sort of commenting and banter where it’s part of the theme and those who go there expect to get stirred up, but TPD is not one of those places. This comment may be selfish self promotion, but if people want to flame and be flamed with the vitriol of common-numptys, then send them across to our website and the Admiral will be happy to indulge them ๐Ÿ™‚

December 13, 2006 @ 1:59 pm | Comment

It’s never selfish self-promotion to offer yourself off as a flame venue – I think it comes under the heading of public service. ๐Ÿ™‚

December 13, 2006 @ 2:01 pm | Comment

Lisa

Hear ye! hear ye!…good points for TDP

I have tried to shy away from name calling as much as possible but I call them as I see them albeit politely and selectively. You are right that I may have rushed into judgements some times but the more abrassives ones here should be able to take it as good as they have dished out.

December 13, 2006 @ 2:16 pm | Comment

Flabbergasted, I don’t think you’ve been rude (at least not from the comments I’ve seen – I don’t read them all). No worries! I’m enjoying your contributions.

December 13, 2006 @ 2:21 pm | Comment

Lisa and other fellow members of the Faction of Quacking Canards,

I do have a confession to make. I acted out of character in the past 2 days. But I’m not out of my mind. It’s a calculated risk. My instinct told me that there’s something wrong with a couple of new commenters. So I made a few provocative comments to test the water, with a hope of flushing out this piece of dirt. It worked. But of course I copped some abuses along the way. It’s not a big deal, even though I have to trouble the TPD nanny to come in with a mop to clean up the mess. So my apology and I promise I’ll be of my best behaviour from now on. The bottom line is: I don’t mind to be called a dumbass as long as I can keep calling t_co a moron.

P.S. Sorry Lisa, I can’t help it.

P.P.S. PiPi, enjoy reading your blog and please give my regards to the Admiral.

December 13, 2006 @ 3:07 pm | Comment

*snort*!

carry on, then! t-o, you get one (1) free insult.

December 13, 2006 @ 3:09 pm | Comment

James, I know there’s some history here (though I don’t know the specifics – like I said, I don’t read all the comments). But the only one of your comments that I saw that I felt needed to be deleted was the one with my name attached to it. That one was really out of line.

I do understand that our tempers get the best of us at times (mine too). Most of what I’ve seen from you I feel has added to the conversation here. I know others disagree, but like I said, I don’t know why.

Unless I’m missing something huge, and it’s really up to Richard, not me, please continue commenting in the spirit I’ve tried to outline.

If anybody has a problem with this, please contact me via email – redandexpert at that yahoo place. ‘kay?

Thanks, everyone. I appreciate everybody’s good humor and spirit of reconcilliation here…(remember, I’m from California, it’s how we talk, we just can’t help it ๐Ÿ™‚ )

December 13, 2006 @ 4:03 pm | Comment

Lisa, James has been banned by Richard more than once.

So, Lisa, you’re “making nice” with a proven troll who has BEEN BANNED BY RICHARD!

Lisa, I find this entire post of yours to be bloody hypocritical, self-serving and disingenuous.

Meanwhile, check with Richard and he’ll confirm that he’s been banning and deleting your friend “James” over and over again since last night.

December 13, 2006 @ 4:07 pm | Comment

James

Plse donot use my arguments for your own ends.
You reflect badly on the rest of us and I kindly request to to cease and desist.

December 13, 2006 @ 4:14 pm | Comment

Ivan, I don’t know how I can spell this out more clearly: I don’t know about this history with James. I will wait for Richard to clarify it for me. I’ve already asked for him to do so.

As for the other stuff – let’s continue this via email, okay? Or not. It’s up to you.

December 13, 2006 @ 4:15 pm | Comment

Lisa,

Why are you trying to engage a troll?

If this is what you want to do, then I’ll be out of here for good.

P.S. Did you actually read James’ posts. If you haven’t, please do. Can’t you see that he is obsessed? Who does he remind you of?

December 13, 2006 @ 4:20 pm | Comment

as a p.s.. I’m just going to offer one more “casting bread upon the waters” sort of plea for peace. I’ll even quote Rodney King! There’s just been so much crap slung back and forth; I can’t keep track of who said what to whom and who started it, I’d just like to start from scratch, offer everybody a do-over, and hope for more courteous dialog from here on out.

I apologize if there are things that I’ve missed or don’t understand, but though in general I follow the blog closely, when I’m not responsible for running it, or when I’m on vacation (which I was over the last two weeks) or when, hey, I’ve got a lifegoing on, I miss stuff.

As I said, it’s ultimately up to Richard in any case.

Insert Rodney King quote here.

December 13, 2006 @ 4:24 pm | Comment

Fat Cat, I’ve only read a few of James’ comments, most of which did not strike me as particularly provocative other than the one comment which I deleted, which as i said was totally out of line. I really don’t know what this is all about. I’ve asked if there is some history here that I don’t know about to please email me. so far this has not happened. I’m waiting for clarification from Richard, but as i said, he has a helluva lot more important things to do than moderate blog flame wars.

I’m doing the best I can here. I’d appreciate some help.

December 13, 2006 @ 4:29 pm | Comment

Flabbergasted,

James is a troll. He is not here for a discussion and so he is not going to reason with you. Now you can see what he is doing: he is using you against Ivan and vice versa. His ultimate aim is to disrupt this forum and to divert people’s attention away from the issues in question and make them engage in personal attacks. A troll like this gets a kick out of seeing how capable he is in manipulating other people’s feeling. Several internet forums have to close down because of these trolls.

The best way of dealing with a troll like that is to ignore him. I engaged him before just in order to force him to come out of his closet. Please see my comment above for more information. So my friendly advice for you: don’t even respond to his comment, including (and particularly) those directed at you.

December 13, 2006 @ 4:35 pm | Comment

Lisa,

I’m in the middle of something. But I’ll email you a couple of hours later when I get back home.

I the meantime, I would be grateful if you could follow my advice to Flabbergasted re: best way of dealing with a troll. Thanks.

December 13, 2006 @ 4:54 pm | Comment

Thanks Fat Cat. I’ll probably be asleep by then (it’s nearly 1 AM here), but I’ll look for your email in the morning.

December 13, 2006 @ 4:57 pm | Comment

Yes, Ivan is right that James is a troll. Like Lisa, I was not sure at first and I tried to give him a fair chance. Then he said he was intentionally larding his comments with ad hominems specifically to enrage readers, and that says a lot. So he is banned; several of his posts today were outrageously obscene and nasty. But this is the key point: NO ONE can comment like this, even those with whom I agree. I cannot have a double standard here, so I appreciate Lisa rather simple and gentle plea: let’s all try to get along. I know raucous comments can be fun and adrenalin-raising, but there have to be limits. We’re all adults, and I believe we all now when we ourselves cross the line, as Fat Cat above so maturely notes about her own comments. This is not a complex or difficult issue: Let’s be civil to one another. If someone is trying to ruin the threads, let’s call them on it without descending to their level. Thanks to everyone for understanding this.

December 13, 2006 @ 6:12 pm | Comment

I’ll do my best to be civil — it’s a bit easier for me, I suppose, since I haven’t been commenting much lately — but I’d wager that the chances of the comments section here ever being a mass of lollipop trees and rainbow skies are approximately nil.

(Maybe we could have a new rule about requiring angry rebuttals to be done through the use of humorous images, e.g. this and this and this other one that I used to have on my computer that said “HEY FUCKHEAD I’M GOING TO STAB YOU IN THE EYE.”)

December 13, 2006 @ 7:05 pm | Comment

But to control this problem, you need to start monitoring your own commentators. I really enjoy the writing of Ivan’s posts, but you have to admit a lot of his more bullying comments are allowed to be posted here without criticism on the basis that he is one of Richard’s friends.

December 13, 2006 @ 9:03 pm | Comment

Richard isn’t – and shouldn’t be – our nanny, Trev.

December 13, 2006 @ 9:39 pm | Comment

Who the hell is James? I thought Lisa was referring to me.

Anyways [deleted], based on the latest message you left me, you’re still a petty git on the world’s smallest power trip. I can’t believe how much of a drama queen you are. And thats all I really have to say on the matter.

p.s. Lisa, she started it

December 13, 2006 @ 10:28 pm | Comment

Jing I edited the crude ad hominem out of your comment. You know why.

Let me just ask this: Can we just start over? If you say, as jing just did, “She started it,” that gives us free reign to keep attacking one another based on old grudges. So how about we just stop now and start with a clean slate. That means “she started it” isn’t an excuse to keep the insults flying. Can each of us just take responsiblilty for his own comments and keep them free of obscenities and flames? I’m not saying we have to be genteel and sip on mint juleps wearing white velvet gloves while we tip our hats to one another. But can we just knock it off here and now?

Brendan doesn’t seem to think so, and he has reasons; the history of the comments here won’t be pointed to as examples to emulate in Amy Vanderbilt’s book of etiquette. But maybe, just maybe we can stop the flaming that has caused this site, in my eyes, to go downhill recently. Can we try?

December 13, 2006 @ 10:59 pm | Comment

Since you asked nicely, instead of accusing me to be multiple trolls and threatening petty retribution as some are wont to do, then sure.

You won’t see anymore three, four, or five letter words out of me anymore that dear old grandmum would dissapprove of. Cross my heart. Hope to die. Stick a needle in my eye.

December 13, 2006 @ 11:10 pm | Comment

Thanks Jing. You’ve been a commenter here for years, longer than nearly anyone else, and even though you infuriate me at times, I hope we can continue to respect one another even when we violently disagree.

(There, now that wasn’t so hard, was it?)

December 13, 2006 @ 11:35 pm | Comment

Thanks for the post Lisa,

I agree, there’s plenty of space for spirited debate without resorting to silly name-calling.

December 14, 2006 @ 12:45 am | Comment

Jeremiah was a bull frog….

… but he was a good friend of mine.

How’s that for name calling and making peace? ๐Ÿ˜›

It amazes me that it’s even an issue. Oh, and just so I’m clear, are we allowed to personally attack ourselves? I’ve been desperate to lay into myself about a few things and have been looking for a venue.

December 14, 2006 @ 1:04 am | Comment

I like mint julips in hot weather.

December 14, 2006 @ 1:34 am | Comment

You hit the nail on the head, Lisa. Thanks

P.S. I hope that free insult accrues interest.

December 14, 2006 @ 4:51 am | Comment

Speaking of mint juleps…that’s not a bad idea, Richard, not bad at all. Surely we could all use a little Southern gentility.

As in:
Brendan’s brains are thicker than molasses – that Yankee wouldn’t know a lollipop tree if he walked right smack into one, bless his heart.

(P.S. You’ll have to imagine me with a Southern drawl as sweet as tea.)

(P.P.S. Brendan, shugah, those Dante translations aren’t going to write themselves!)

December 14, 2006 @ 4:57 am | Comment

Yep. The trick is to add “bless his heart” while you’re sipping the julip.

December 14, 2006 @ 5:09 am | Comment

Well, I don’t know if anybody has ever been offended by something I’ve said. I know I’m a bit impulsive when I post at times, so if I ever say anything nasty, call me down for it! Thanks for this post, Lisa

December 14, 2006 @ 5:30 am | Comment

Chip, you’re OK. The commenter who tried to provoke you earlier is a troll. Just ignore him.

t_co, it’s not an issue of whether a free insult accrues interests, it’s a matter of whether you dare to cash in. Moron.

December 14, 2006 @ 7:54 am | Comment

I don’t get upset about rude comments on blogs. When you get right down to it, all they are is little black marks on a glowing screen. When technology is developed that allows a troll to send electric shocks through the screen and into my eyeballs, then I will be bothered. But if I get a nasty response, as happened with PiPi’s site, then I say “PiPiss on it” and go somewhere where the chatter is more convivial.

December 14, 2006 @ 11:33 am | Comment

Bukko, what you say is all true, but… I would rather have a blog where the readers hang around and not walk away offended as some of them have recently. Sometimes even I want to walk away in disgust, and it’s my blog!

December 14, 2006 @ 12:05 pm | Comment

Bukko,

I sort of recall people ganging up against you for some comments you made. But I never had the patience to read through that blog post to find out what exactly happened.

Never mind. You are welcome here. So don’t go away.

December 14, 2006 @ 2:16 pm | Comment

Bukko – you came to ‘my’ site and the very first comment you made was smart-assed, nasty and borderline racist (albeit not intended I guess) to one of the authors to say the least. What did you expect the retort to be? You had no need to say what you did and you had nothing to contribute to the theme of the thread. Please, cry me a river.

PS – Mint Juleps! Give me a Mojito any day ๐Ÿ™‚

December 15, 2006 @ 10:32 am | Comment

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