Bitch on the Blog

January 26, 2012

Censorship

I don’t like people who show no grace in their communication with others, no willingness to enter any attempt at trying to reconcile differences. Those who will ignore an outstretched hand, erase someone’s comment instead of letting it stand, for all the world to see. Two commenters, unaware of their sins, so bad that they had to be shown the blogger’s door.

Nick, if you had any decency at all, any tact, any grace, you’d also delete your disparaging assessment aimed at Hippo aka Tom and myself. Wipe the slate clean as it were. Tidy that particular post’s comment box instead of leaving smears.

You deleted Tom’s apology when first you took us to task. Any attempt of mine to explain you keep deleting. Is it really ok to NOT give someone, the accused, a chance to “clear” their name?  Oh the irony, considering your post’s original subject. Think about it, Nick. But then you don’t do irony well, do you? It’s lost on you. Which in itself doesn’t matter whatsoever. What matters is how you deal with that which is beyond or below you.

I respect that you are of a sensitive disposition. So sensitive that you have no scruples whatsoever to malign Hippo’s and my name on your blog. Without – and I am repeating myself here – giving either of us a chance. Well, Nick, if that is what communicating means to you please do count me out. Since Tom addressed me and I replied to him and neither of us felt there was anything “snide” in our exchange why were you unable to just accept that and let it stand? Or were we stealing the limelight? Some bloggers don’t care, some rather do and some encourage diversity in their comment boxes.

I value the opinions of people who comment on my blog. Not in a million years would I ever delete anything other than what compromises a third party’s right to privacy. I am not a bloody prison warden, a control freak.  Spoiler alert: And yes, this is a bit mean and below the belt, aimed at you, Nick, and others: The little Hitlers so empowered by their territory, namely their “blog”, in need of their ego to be fed. Well, you fed it. Now let the dog off the leash, and delete YOUR own continued comments in relation  to that storm in an Irish teacup.

As you delete so I will publish. I see that you have wiped out Hippo aka Tom completely; not one smidgen of the man left. I suppose better than a fist fight. You may get hurt. The first two rather funny exchanges between Tom and me, the ones which led to your peculiar reaction, I do have no record of. The rest I do.

I implicitly trust the judgment of all those who regularly comment on this blog. So, should any of you, my readers, take the time and an interest in that fruitless exchange, please do enlighten me, if and where I went wrong. I will take it to heart – AND, stand by to be amazed, Nick:  LEARN FROM IT. Rarely is there a need to chuck the baby out with the bathwater. Unless the water is on fire. As you know I don’t bullshit. Neither, and there may be a lesson in it for you, Nick, will any of my readers’ criticism of me and my conduct make any difference in how I much I appreciate them, any difference in my affection for them. None whatsoever. Quite the opposite. Give me a bit of honesty. Don’t shilly shally; say it how you see it: None of us are infallible. If friends can’t give us feedback who can? Forgive me for this “snide” remark (after all, mustn’t short change you by not matching your expectation of me): You may try and get that pea out from under your mattress. You will bruise less easily. Now, there, there, let’s kiss it all better.

When Tom apologized to you he corrected my choice of word ‘pathetic’ at your reaction, suggesting to me that “regrettable” might be more applicable. Initially I agreed with him. However, considering your conduct since, I quite happily stick with the original “pathetic”. Considering the Latin scholar you are shall we compare notes first? Let’s see: ‘pathetic’ adj. arousing pity. Origin; Greek pathetikos ‘sensitive’. What did I say, Nick? Sensitive. Try and thicken your cutis (Latin ‘skin’).

Hugs and kisses, here goes:

Nick, the gentleman he is, first:

Hippo and Ursula, I have deleted your latest comments. Yes, it’s my blog and I can do what I like with it. If  you want to have a snide private conversation, go and have it somewhere else.

Hippo Tom’s Reply:

Sorry Nick, I do not know who Ursula is but I did find her witty, rather than snide (I certainly took no offence and hope she didn’t either) but I did realise that your post was of a very serious nature which was why I suggested that Ursula and I should take it over to my blog.

Once again, my aplogies.

Ursula’s pound’s worth:

Good on you, Hippo, that you are so forgiving. I am not. I think it’s pathetic, Nick, that you took down two perfectly good, well intenioned, comments. No doubt, you’ll take this down too. Your loss.

Or maybe, you’ll think again, and do a U turn. Aren’t an awful lot of blogs currently carrying the banner “No censorship”? Well, you could have fooled me.

U

Nick in his tireless attempt to stamp out the undesirable:

I have deleted another three comments from Hippo and Ursula. None of them had anything to do with the subject of the post.

Other bona fide commenters are welcome as usual.

Ursula, now wishing she had more than one head to scratch:

Nick, I don’t understand.

You’ve always struck me as a reasonable guy. I therefore hope that you will allow me to put the record straight. If only to be fair to Tom aka Hippo and myself, and not tarnish Tom’s reputation. Let’s remember that he even apologized to you. Though what for he clearly was baffled about. As am I.

Let’s remind ourselves that Tom took the time to address my being “indignant” at being passed over with my very first, and valid, comment. I thought his reply to me funny, original. I took his, as perceived by me, friendly bait by replying in a similar, slightly mocking style.I knew I’d hit it off with this newcomer to your blog, and new to me. And he took it in the same spirit as he had delivered to me. Which is great. More the pity that you didn’t. For which I still don’t apologize but join Tom in his rather better choice of word than my own, namely that the outcome is “regrettable”. Indeed.

Some of the best solid blogging friendships are forged in comment boxes. And some of the best blogs I visit (I visit few) are those who, generously, allow a natural flow of conversation rather than just appreciative small talk.

One last point, Nick: Do you actually know what you are saying with your “Other bona fide commenters are welcome as usual”?

“Bona fide” means “genuine, real”, Latin “with good faith”. Are you implying that not only are we not welcome anymore but suggesting that we didn’t come to your blog genuine, real and in good faith? If so, it’s an insult. See how easy it is to offend, Nick? Oh, the irony of it.

U

PS Let’s just blame John Gray. He started it. With his, and what I thought a deliciously smart, comment.

Nick who hereby confirms what I have suspected for a while, best glossed over:

Ursula – Your insult to me (in yet another comment) I shall ignore – of course I know what bona fide means, I have an O Level in Latin. Your insult to John Gray I shan’t ignore. He started nothing, he simply made a slightly cryptic comment that you chose to interpret in a bizarre way he never intended.

At this point I wished I’d THREE heads to scratch:

Nick, please do give me a break.

What insult to you, to John Gray? My PS was meant funny, trying to defuse whatever tension has crept into our exchange

There was little bizarre in my interpretation of John Gray’s comment. And even if: One of my two offerings was spot on, confirmed by him. The other was a sincere heartfelt of what I would have done in that woman’s situation. There is suffering that is tempting to cut short. What use is it to her to being vindicated after 25 years of heartache of having not just lost one son but the rest of friends and family too? As an aside: Some family.

I suppose it’s best if we just leave it. You do not appear to be willing to see my side, you will not even afford me the courtesy to let your other readers see my response. You will not concede anything. I have said it twice before and I say it again: I thought John Gray’s comment extremely astute. It was original, which no doubt led to some of you being confused by it.

If you find my comment bizarre then there is clearly a wavelength on which we can’t communicate. Neither did I find any of what Tom said to me to be a snide remark. And vice versa.

At risk of you finding fault with me once more: What’s your having attained an O’level in Latin got to do with understanding an expression? If this is about “mine is bigger than yours” I am sorry to say that I studied Latin to a higher grade and with distinction. I even studied Classic Greek. I communicate in a tongue which is not my mother’s.  So what? Doesn’t make me superior to anyone, neither does it mean that, unlike you, I will not admit to misinterpreting or using expressions sometimes rather too loosely. What I find so astonishing that I indicate, indeed ask you, what the meaning of your bona fide comment was. You do not enlighten. You just ignore that which doesn’t suit. But then you are the blog’s “owner”.

U

PS Just caught up with your last comment. You say you are “distressed”. There is no reason. Blogs are not one-way-streets. They are about communication. And sometimes communication will go wrong. Misunderstandings, misinterpretation. It’s life, Nick, not the end of the world. So let’s pick up pieces.

U

Guess what, dear Readers, yup, you got it in one.

The original post: http://nickhereandnow.blogspot.com/2012/01/under-cloud.html , undone at the seams by its master, hence many a hole. Last comment check: 1611 GMT.

U

PS Those of you who read this may ask: What’s the purpose of this exercise, Ursula? Other than wasting my, your, our time? Trust me: There is method. Let’s call Nick’s a case study, an example of some of that I think questionable in the world of blogging.

Let’s call it a strike against censorship, against unfairness. Let’s call it many things. And this minute I call: Roger Over and Out.

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25 Comments »

  1. Ursula
    I must admit I read nick’s blog and like him and his writing…so I was a little surprised just how upset he was with you. I am sorry it all seems to have degenerated into a bit of a bun fight
    and I am sorry I started it with my ironic comment
    best wishes anyway
    johnx

    Comment by john Gray — January 26, 2012 @ 17:05 | Reply

    • John, happy to hear from you. There is nothing for you to feel sorry about.

      I have left many a comment on other people’s servings. sometimes with astonishing results. Some get “it”, others don’t. Which is fine. What I don’t like is to be ostracized. Who knows, John: Something clearly got Nick’s rag, big time. Just like you I too like him. More is the pity. Because, I dare say, I’ll be barred for good. And even if he hasn’t barred me forever I’d never be able to just be myself on his blog. And that is the true pity of communication gone wrong: When you start looking over your shoulder, mincing every word you utter, double checking any opinion you may hold before opening your mouth.

      Good to make your acquaintance. You can always throw a bun at me when showing up at your blog. Just don’t put me in the corner should I not catch the bun, deliberately drop it or change the subject. As to Tom aka Captain Gowans – what a find. Must have been my lucky day to get two of you for the price of one reprimand.

      Ursula

      Comment by bitchontheblog — January 26, 2012 @ 17:33 | Reply

  2. John – You started nothing, you’re not at fault in any way.

    Ursula – This is your blog, you’re entitled to say whatever you like. I have no comment to make.

    Comment by Nick — January 26, 2012 @ 17:46 | Reply

  3. Ursula — I find your take on things… interesting, to say the least. Different from what I’m used to, for sure. However, I don’t find your interpretation of John Gray’s comment at all peculiar, just a different perspective than what I would have considered.

    Comment by Mike Goad — January 26, 2012 @ 18:54 | Reply

  4. Hi there Ursula,
    How’s tricks then? I absolutely see your point about John’s comment….

    You touch on something broader than the immediate question…as ever.

    I certainly feel that too many bloggers take themselves too seriously. I still wonder why I ever took it up.

    I have just changed the record on the turntable and while doing so found myself wondering what Samuel Pepys would be doing in this day an age? Did he write in order that his words be published?

    Comment by magpie11 — January 26, 2012 @ 20:23 | Reply

  5. If you’re going to have comments on your blog, you are inviting community AND diversity. If Nick only wants his opinion read, then he shouldn’t have commentors. I agree bloggers take themselves too seriously. Also a blogger can do whatever he wants with his blog. I have no desire to read any post where the comments were censored. Nor any comments like, ‘ What a well written post & I totally agree with you.’

    Comment by bikehikebabe — January 26, 2012 @ 22:07 | Reply

    • I was just going to say what a well written comment, and I totally agree with you! But now you may have no desire to read it. Dammit!

      Comment by Phil — January 26, 2012 @ 23:48 | Reply

      • Haha 😀

        I hope my comments are well written & I totally agree with myself.

        Comment by bikehikebabe — January 27, 2012 @ 00:35 | Reply

  6. Um. Uh. Whoo boy. Gee. Golly. I don’t know what Nick’s original blog was about or John’s comment was, so I’m skating on thin ice with my skates unlaced.

    I read the whole account and come to two conclusions: Some people don’t understand sharp-minded, witty humor; some people think everything is about them; and some people lose their perspective a bit too easily. Oh, that was three. Some people can’t count either.

    Your points about censorship and how easily things can be misunderstood (so stop all the fuss, Nick) were spot on, U. (Remember this is coming from a blogger who can’t count.)

    Comment by Lorna's Voice — January 26, 2012 @ 22:19 | Reply

  7. The irony that this happened during the week we all sought free speech isn’t lost on me. I wrote a piece on civility before the holidays that dealt with the issue of comments that weren’t quite ‘civil’ and my deep appreciation to the bloggers who treated them with respect nonetheless. I have learned much in that area from some really upstanding bloggers. I am thankful for everyone who visits my site and leaves a comment. If we can’t talk to each through our blogs – and we are writers and communicators – then what hope does the rest of the world have?

    Comment by writingfeemail — January 26, 2012 @ 23:01 | Reply

  8. Now that’s what I call Bitchin’ on the Blog, which actually begs a question about the title of your blog; something I’ve been wondering about for some time now. Is Bitch a noun or verb as it relates to your Blog’s title? But I digress…

    I went back and tried to piece together the original blog entry and the various comments, including yours and some of the omitted ones from above. I am rather amazed at how quickly the situation unraveled. I’m left shrugging at the whole ordeal. Ursula, you may not have three of your own heads to scratch, but you can scratch mine as a second head, for I really didn’t see anything so inflammatory in the initial comments that gave rise to their being voted off the island. Granted, John’s original comment may have certainly raised a few eyebrows for initial impact, but it was so over-the-top that the sarcasm and tongue-in-cheek meter should have gone off loudly, and it appears it did for most folks there.

    For what it is worth, and that usually isn’t all that much, I thought your original comment that set off this brouhaha was brilliantly astute and right on target. At first blush, your comment may have seemed controversial and blunt, but it was rich in material definitely worth thinking about. I totally understood what you had to say, even if I did not necessarily agree with the message. Pity indeed it was tossed into the trash heap, and for what reason? It certainly seemed to me to be both germane to the original post and the ensuing discussion that followed. I suppose it didn’t fit the blog owner’s viewpoints of “appropriateness.” Apparently further explanation of it all did nothing to mitigate his viewpoint, although I find it disappointing he didn’t leave it there for others to draw their own conclusions.

    “Some of the best solid blogging friendships are forged in comment boxes. And some of the best blogs I visit (I visit few) are those who, generously, allow a natural flow of conversation rather than just appreciative small talk.”

    “Blogs are not one-way-streets. They are about communication. And sometimes communication will go wrong. Misunderstandings, misinterpretation. It’s life…

    That’s some good stuff right there, and it gives me an idea for my own little blog about maybe finding a way to stimulate more open-ended discussions. I appreciate the discussion on this!

    Comment by Phil — January 26, 2012 @ 23:46 | Reply

  9. Strange as it may seem, I appreciate all the comments on our little spat, and I’m always open to criticism. I notice all your commenters are wholeheartedly on your side, which is to be expected.

    I guess I’m the only one who can properly understand why I acted the way I did, so I don’t expect others necessarily to be supportive.

    I’m very aware of the whole issue of censorship and comment-vetting, but the fact is we all censor our blogs to some extent. I know many bloggers who use comment moderation, who remove comments that upset or disturb them, or have even gone members-only (and thrown me out). I do believe in the principle of free comment, however extreme or offensive, as the crux of intelligent discussion. In five years of blogging, this is the first and only time I’ve deleted comments other than spam, and I hope it’s the last.

    Comment by Nick — January 27, 2012 @ 08:14 | Reply

    • No one will dispute that only you can properly understand why you acted the way you did. However, it stands to reason that you cannot properly understand why others acted the way they did. If some clarification was sought out initially on the various comments made, there may have been a better understanding among everyone in a way that actually added to the conversation germane to the original topic, instead of a rapid unraveling of the discussion that occurred. It appears to me there were quick judgments made by many, and a little heavy-handedness on your part, a heavy-handedness not available to the others. I realize it is your blog and prerogative, but I was just making my own observations on the matter.

      It is a lesson in miniature about the slippery slope of censorship.

      Comment by Phil — January 27, 2012 @ 13:44 | Reply

      • Phil – It was in fact Ursula and Tom who “unravelled the discussion” and abandoned the original topic of the post to have a private conversation. That is what I was complaining about. It was rude and selfish and I didn’t want it to go on indefinitely. It wasn’t fair to other commenters who DID want to discuss the original topic.

        Comment by Nick — January 27, 2012 @ 17:23 | Reply

        • How did any remarks between Ursula and John inhibit others from discussing the original topic?

          Comment by Phil — January 27, 2012 @ 19:28 | Reply

        • You can shoot me down for replying to you on this one as I have not read your posting and I am just offering a positive reflection as I too have had commenter’s adding snippets to one another on my Space also, but unlike yourself I do not edit or delete a comment just because it is not on topic, besides it is not necessary to delete someone’s thoughts in a way that ironically places you in the spotlight. In other words by deleting these innocent interactions you have brought a completely different subject matter forwards than what your original posting was referring to, and that is rather paradoxical don’t you think?

          I too have a jovial approach to commenting and therefore could quite easily be misunderstood on some of the Spaces that I visit, indeed I have made another comment on this exact posting that is in line with tongue-in-cheek wickedness but jovially added nonetheless and meant as a bit of fun, sometimes one has to be a tad less serious and recognise that everyone has something different to add, that is how commenting goes my friend and if you have the original comments sitting in your trash area then I would strongly suggest that you re-add them and let other bloggers on your Space decide what is appropriate or not, as everyone adds this, that and the other and I assure you the comments are never always on topic. Have a good rest of weekend now…

          Androgoth

          Comment by Androgoth — January 29, 2012 @ 00:14 | Reply

  10. I would tentatively suggest that Ursula and I caught Nick on a bad day.

    I would also say that I was guilty of concentrating more on Ursula’s undoubted wit and the pleasure of making her acquaintance than the very serious subject of Nick’s post. I would describe my sin as rather like the internet equivalent of being invited to a dinner party and then ignoring the host and spending all my time with another guest of his with whom I was suddenly and inexplicably entranced. Even the most tolerant host, especially if he has endured a bad day, could be excused for becoming tetchy.

    Ursula, I enjoyed reading this post, and the comments, of course. I do have all the ‘missing’ comments because I always click the box for email notification. I have a fondness for distilled grain meaning that sometimes I need to be reminded of what I am apologising for. Even in my own Company, the my board fo Directors have banned me from sending emails after midnight (by which time the inhibition usually comprising the essential part of diplomatic intercourse has been significantly diluted).

    Like you, I felt I had to post something relevant to what happened. I have never had one of my comments to another blog deleted before and like you was a bit bemused. I agree wholeheartedy that blogs and subsequent comments should be a platform for the exchange of views and if commentators drift off topic, so what? My post is here: http://hippo-on-the-lawn.blogspot.com/2012/01/child-psychology.html

    I chose the title carefully and if the irony did not escape Nick, that makes his acknowledgement of his impatience with us, as expressed in his comment on my post all the more sincere.

    His is an interesting and well written blog, as is yours and I hope to be able to continue to enjoy them both. We are all guilty of occasional intolerance and thank goodness that most people can overlook such outbursts and recognise them as the aberrations they are.
    After all, if we are so concerned about a few comments of ours being deleted, it begs the question of exactly who might be taking themselves too seriously? I mean, let’s face it, both of us allowed something so trivial to provoke us to deny ourselves the comfort of our own beds and instead commit thousands of words to paper.

    You have to laugh, don’t you? OK, maybe just a wry smile.

    Comment by Tom Gowans (Hippo) — January 28, 2012 @ 12:26 | Reply

  11. “… After all, if we are so concerned about a few comments of ours being deleted, it begs the question of exactly who might be taking themselves too seriously? I mean, let’s face it, both of us allowed something so trivial to provoke us to deny ourselves the comfort of our own beds and instead commit thousands of words to paper…”

    Well said. That you were one of the parties involved, your words carry a bit more weight than ours, and I appreciate your bringing the matter into perspective, lest any of us become overly self-righteous about it all. I do appreciate this entire discussion. Points were made, issues were clarified, and hopefully some lessons were learned by all.

    Comment by Phil — January 28, 2012 @ 13:57 | Reply

    • This was meant to be a reply to Tom. Perhaps I need another cup of coffee…

      Comment by Phil — January 28, 2012 @ 13:58 | Reply

      • Oi, Phil,

        I rather fancy Ursula so am dancing along that very fine thread stretched between reason and lust. So don’t screw it up for me.

        Take her side, call me an arsehole, useful stuff like that. For Feck’s sake don’t highlight the one single point I made that might possibly be construed as criticism of her. For Christ’s sake, you know what she is like.

        Comment by Tom Gowans (Hippo) — January 28, 2012 @ 14:13 | Reply

        • Admit it Tom, you know you want to be scolded by her… (I’d insert the tongue-sticking-out smilie, but that will really piss her off)

          Comment by Phil — January 28, 2012 @ 14:24 | Reply

          • I’d give it a go. Anything wrong with that?

            If this was Nick’s blog, he’d have had heart failure by now.

            Actually, if it was anybody’s blog they would go nuts,

            Let’s wait and see the nuclear melt down when Ursula logs on again.

            Comment by Tom Gowans (Hippo) — January 28, 2012 @ 14:43 | Reply

            • Nah, I don’t think Ursula will mind. I rather love these sidebar conversations and Ursula has a talent at drawing them out of folks who come here to visit. Witness any number of threads where the original post contains a mere two or three sentences, and yet there will be dozens of comments with hundreds of paragraphs of wit, folly, and foolishness. It’s a gift she has…

              Comment by Phil — January 28, 2012 @ 15:09 | Reply

  12. Yes there are some exceptionally monotonous characters around and I have also had dealings with one or two of them, they just cannot stand to have anyone add something original and witty to their Spaces, and instead of being happy that someone took the time to respond to another commenter on their blog they throw their toys out of the pram and cry like little screaming girls… and how boring is that, but so very typical of the type.

    Perhaps one should offer this hector the ‘Amalgamated Rambling Sensitivity Extreme Hapless Original Loser Extraordinaire’ award, or just ARSEHOLE for short? How do you mean do I know this guy? Well no, I don’t actually and from what you have written here I doubt that many others will be interested in knowing him either, I mean come on that man get a grip old bean…

    Still it takes all kinds to make
    up an orgy, I mean a community…

    Have a ghoulishly exciting rest of evening
    bitchontheblog and don’t have nightmares…

    Androgoth Xx

    Comment by Androgoth — January 28, 2012 @ 23:47 | Reply


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