Thank you for your comment. I know you'll be back to hate-read, so I'll give you something to read when you return.
I enable and enjoy the polite, constructive anonymous comments. I think they add value to a blog. They often enable readers to tell me their story, when they may not feel confident to with their name attached. But when they're hate fuelled, picky, judgemental, and those weird nonsensical spam comments, I, and my other blogging friends could do without them.
You think you have us bloggers all figured out. You think you know us, and therefore have a right to judge. You read one or two blog posts and decide we are greedy, sold out, vain, ugly, bad parents, needy, too fat/too thin, desperate for love, poor spellers, money-hungry, arrogant, or stupid. And you're so quick to offer us your opinion and advice. And those backhanded compliments - they're always welcome. "Don't take this the wrong way, but..." is always the beginning of a sentence that we have faith in. Not.
Your comments can cause us self doubt. They can make us wonder and worry who may be watching from afar, who may be having a sneaky dig at our lifestyles. We wonder when you may pounce next. Your comments can make us feel the need to justify our role as a blogger, and our income, because they are questioning our motives in an industry you probably don't understand. Your comments about our appearance can make us want to stop posting photos of ourselves. Your comments about our heartbreak and personal experiences can make us want to share a little less of ourselves online.
Sometimes your comments make us want to respond to you in the same nasty way you've written to us. Personally, I always respond to a nasty comment, to show that I am resilient. I try to be polite yet assertive. I want you to know that I stand by everything I write on this blog, and have dared to put so much of me out there, which is more than you'll ever do. But your comments do sting, no matter how much Teflon I spray on before pressing publish on each post. That time you told me I may be mentally unstable due to my love of Darren Hayes. When you implied I was racist because I mentioned that someone was from another country. The lack of context you had when I wrote about the Typo retard card, standing up for disability rights. That the time you told me how judgmental I was about homeless people harassing me in NYC. And that time you, kind enough to use a pseudonym, told me it's unrealistic to have love when I have a chronic illness. Those comments stung. You think you had me all figured out. But you don't know me. And if you did, you'd know that everything I write here is carefully considered.
Would your comments have stung any less if you has have put your name to them? I'm not sure - Online comments and activities are certainly good indicators of character, and the vitriol, racism and nastiness on Facebook pages scare me, especially considering people do put their names to their comments. However, I do think it would take as much courage as I have as a blogger for you to put your name to your anonymous nasty comment.
And until you have the courage to put our name to your writing online - be it a blog, or a comment on a blog, your nasty opinion does not matter to me. And if you don't like our blogs, don't read them. Simple.
Blogging is quite often, narcissistic. It's nice receiving praise and lovely comments. It's not to say we can't handle criticism either. We put ourselves out there, so maybe we should expect the criticism that comes with casting our opinion so widely. But should we have to take the nastiness? No. I doubt very much you'd say these things to us in person.
To all those lovely commenters out there - anonymous and with real names and pseudonyms - I thank you. Thank you for reading, enjoying my writing, sharing and returning. Thank you for caring enough to send well wishes. Thank you for the friendships - both online and in person. I particularly thank those of you who have written to me to tell me what a difference I have made to your lives. I really do appreciate your feedback, and I'm so glad I've helped you or made you laugh, cry, think, change your ways, seek help or become more confident. And thank you for going into bat for me when those other anonymous commenters visit.
So Anon, before you tap out your abusive reply, remember that there is someone else reading them on the other side of the screen. Even if comments are moderated, someone has to see them before they're published or not. Also consider how your behaviour is influencing the next generation. There's so much talk about childhood and teenage (online and face to face) bullying, but your online nastiness is just as bad.
And think about this, as a blogging friend said to me: "I don't tolerate douchbags in my real life, so I'm not going to tolerate them in my online life".
Yours in confident, transparent and continuing blogging,