The other day I deleted a comment from a regular commenter. This commenter is usually respectful, insightful and gives good comment. I do not have a problem with them, I had a problem with that particular comment and the context of it.
First it was directed at another commenter, and I am protective of those who share their stories on my blog, more so when they are sharing something painful, difficult and personal.
That protectiveness also applies to the commenter whose comment I deleted, and if another commenter were to say something in a comment to them on my blog which I considered to be out of order I would behave in exactly the same way.
Secondly it was making a remark about the child of the other commenter, which was not helpful, respectful or sensitive to the child and parent. This is not acceptable. Do not make comments, personal or impersonal about the children of others if they are not kind – I don’t care if you think you’re stating a fact and think you are justified in doing so. Children need to be respected. If someone made a remark like that about your child, you would not accept it. At least I hope you would not accept such a thing.
Thirdly if you begin a statement with anything similar to – I do not mean to be insensitive but… – your conscience knows that what you are about to say may well be insensitive, and perhaps you need to rethink your need to share your opinion in this instance even when you think it is a fact. Stating a fact does not justify the insensitivity of it.
THINK ABOUT IT!!! Is that really a necessary thing to say? Was this parent asking you to comment on their child? Do parents love it when strangers tell them what is or may be wrong with their children? Does anyone like that ever? Do you like it? Do you like having your comment deleted because I thought it was out of order and disrespectful, and then reading my apology to the commenter to whom the comment was directed because I was upset and angry that they had been exposed to it on my blog? Did you read their comments wherein they shared their story, did you not consider that perhaps what they needed was support, sensitivity and consideration? Is that not partly what you were seeking when you first commented on my blog?
BEFORE you @ one of the commenters on my blog – PLEASE consider the actual context of the comment to which you feel the need to reply. PLEASE be considerate of the feelings of that person, especially their feelings about their children and the feelings of the child. Don’t tell me the child won’t know about it or see it, if you upset the parent, you upset the child.
IF you are inconsiderate towards the commenters on my blog, I will return the favour to you and delete your comment. You will not be banned from further comments, but those further comments will be monitored carefully.
This person did apologise, however they did so adding a justification afterwards. Thank you for the apology, I know that you did not mean to offend. It was a very human mistake. The justification was not necessary. This is not about right or wrong, or facts, this is about people being considerate of others. Do you like it when people are inconsiderate of your feelings? Even when they’re just stating a fact?
This is my blog – my rules apply. Get your own blog if you want to make statements like that freely, openly, and publicly.
Guideline #1 – PLEASE be respectful, considerate and sensitive towards other commenters. Remember they are people too just like you, and can be hurt just like you.
The internet can make us forget certain aspects of human social interaction and relationship, partly because we can’t see the effect our words have on the other person, we have no sensory clues and cues to inform our behaviour. If you are uncertain about whether to express a view or not, just place yourself on the receiving end of your comment and consider how you would feel about it. Remember the context of the conversation too. If someone is discussing their pain and hurt, they do not want to hear that 8 out of 10 experts think they’re imagining their pain and hurt.
Scientific facts are often debunked by other scientists whose replacement scientific fact then gets debunked in its turn and so on. Knowing a fact does not make you clever it makes you someone who knows a fact which might one day turn out to not be a fact at all, and you’re definitely not clever if you use your fact insensitively.
Guideline #2 – Feel free to say anything you want to me. I do not like being censored and I do not like censoring. However this is my blog, and I take it personally.
If you direct your comment to me, you can say anything you want, but be warned – If you dish it, you’d better like the taste of your own dish.
That rule also applies to me.
By posting my views, thoughts, feelings and stories about my life on a public format I am leaving myself wide open to the opinions of others. So if I dish it, I’d better like the taste of my own dish.
Sometimes it tastes like crap.
I am blunt, tactless and prone to foot in mouth syndrome. If I upset or offend you, let me know as I can be a bit dense, and I will apologise and make amends. Most of the time.
If you upset or offend me, how I deal with it depends on my mood, how upset or offended I am, and whether I consider it logical or illogical – that applies to my upset as much as to what caused it.
If you make me angry, depending on the type of anger, I’ll either ignore you – until I calm down or forever – or I’ll rip you a new one – and maybe regret it later – however I will be careful – and won’t use a sword – as this is a public format and I do not want to make you lose face in front of others. Or cause upset to those who read the comments.
I make mistakes, so do you, we all do… let’s try to live and let live, and keep the bloodshed to a minimum – that includes not wounding people unnecessarily.
We’ve all been hurt, we all experience pain, we know what it feels like and don’t like it. Pain is an ally, not an enemy – it signals what needs healing. If you’ve been hurt, use the pain in a constructive way and don’t pass the hurt on, pass some healing on instead.
We all know what it’s like to be treated badly and have our feelings trampled on, our pain invalidated by someone else, and someone’s moment of insensitivity can really sting – justifications for being insensitive are salt rubbed on the wound – use that as inspiration to be careful to not do the same with others. If you make a mistake, learn from it, let it inspire a more aware and generous heart.
Shit happens… Wonderful things happen too.
*Please be sensitive towards the commenter who I have discussed in this post and refrain from criticism towards them in the comments on this post, they are under my protection – even if they’re probably wondering if that is a good thing right now. They have apologised, they are a good person who made a mistake (according to me).
I used the incident to inspire me to create some guidelines, so I am grateful for the part they have played in raising my awareness of my blogging responsibilities.