Sunday, August 30, 2009

Let's Talk Etiquette Over Sunday Tea

In the one and a half years that I've been blogging, I've been fortunate to attract a good set of blogger friends. Some of my very first blogger friends aren't blogging as much as they used to, and I miss them. I suspect that many of them have either stopped blogging or slowed down their blogging or limited their blogging to pictures and neutral comments because of some of the reasons I am about to mention. It seems that in recent weeks the number of flames, or insulting comments, have been increasing - mostly put out there by newer bloggers who haven't taken the time to get to know others.

I consider leaving nasty comments on people's sites as the equivalent of flipping the bird while driving down the road. My feelings are this... if you don't like what someone writes about, don't read it. If you keep going back and reading something that you dislike, then you are the one who has the problem. You might want to start managing your time more effectively.

I recently stopped following a bunch of blogs, because I was overwhelmed with keeping up with them. I thought, "My time is valuable, so why am I wasting my time reading about subjects I have no interest in, written by people who I have nothing in common with?" I cut the list down to just those blogs that I enjoy, look forward to reading, or benefit from in some way. I admit that I do write about the same subjects quite a bit, but that is mainly because I receive either requests for more posts on that subject, or I receive comments that some readers are interested in the subject. Unfortunately, there are always a few people who get sick of reading the same subject over and over, and try to stop it by insulting me. It's not necessary to insult me. Just stop reading my blog. Simple as that.

The other thing to think about is giving unsolicited advice. I feel that sharing horse training tips is always beneficial. Even if I already know what people have told me, I publish the comment in case someone else who doesn't know reads it and benefits from it. However, when you give obvious advice about life in general that anyone with common sense would know, it's as if you are assuming that the person you are speaking to is a moron. That's insulting.

Another thought: I, personally, don't mind if bloggers mention their struggles, because it gives me the opportunity to offer my support. It does help people feel relief to have people on the other side of the country or the world just say, "Hey, I hear what you are saying and I feel for you."

However, it is usually considered to be in bad taste to make comments like, "At least that's the only problem you have. It could be worse."

If a woman were raped, would you say, "At least you weren't murdered?"

If someone had cancer, would you say, "At least you're still alive?"

No, that would be inappropriate. People should be allowed to grieve without having Miss Sunshine forcing the positives into the situation. When people say things like that, it only shows that they are incapable of feeling empathy, or at the very least, sympathy for the plights of others.

I know that the intention of the person who says such things as "At least this or at least that..." is to make the other person feel better by thinking positively. However, it comes across in a different manner. It sounds more like, "How dare you complain about your problems. You should be grateful that something worse hasn't happened to you."

We are constantly sorting out who we want to spend time with based upon personalities and shared beliefs. If you don't like my personality, don't read my blog. I have several blogger friends who say things I don't always agree with, but I still find them interesting and appreciate reading their posts. Occasionally, a reader might leave a comment that starts a debate. As long as it is a respectful exchange of ideas, I welcome it. However, once you regress to name calling and insults aimed at the blogger or commenter, the effectiveness of the discussion degrades.

Now that I've got everyone reflecting on their comments and wondering if they insulted me, don't worry about it. I'm easy. I forgive quickly. I'm not really talking about any specific comments on my site, so don't bother sifting through in search of them. I've just noticed a series of comments on various websites in recent weeks that left a bad taste in my mouth, and had to say something to set the blog world right again. With that said, have you hugged your horse today?


Katharine Swan said...

NM, I really hope my comment on your post about Jaycee wasn't one of the ones that got to you. I went back and read it after reading this, and I'm afraid it might have offended you. I'm sorry if it did. I don't think I made this clear enough, but I didn't mean to criticize you in any way -- your post just brought up an issue I've thought a lot about, having quite a bit of experience with ridiculously overprotective parents. I don't think you fall into that category though -- you are cautious, sure, but I've never heard of you maintaining 24/7 surveillance on your kids. :o)

Reddunappy said...

N M, sorry youve been having a problem with comments. I havnt had that problem, yet. I try to stay positive with my comments and if I want to "instruct" someone do it on my own blog. I dont think I was one of the jerks! LOL :0)

Nuzzling Muzzles said...

Katharine - No worries. In that case, I thought you were expressing your point of view, and there was no personal judgment about me in it. I think of you as being an intelligent, "cerebral" person. You really like to think things through when reading posts, and share those thoughts in your comments. You actually put a lot of time into responding to posts, which is unusual and appreciated by me.

Katharine Swan said...

NM, I'm glad I didn't offend. Thanks for the compliment -- your blog is one of my favorites, which I'm sure improves the quality of my comments. :o)

Breathe said...

One challenge with blogging is that not everyone is ... skilled at the written word. People say things in writing that aren't close to what they mean.

At least I *hope* that's why that happens.

(That said, I suspect I've been guilty of a moronic comment or three...)

I hugged two horses today, even though Lily was reluctant. She's much more attached to my daughter, with me she's like "oh. it's you."

fernvalley01 said...

I have been very lucky ,all of the commenters on my blog ,yourself included have been lovely. I find myself looking forward to the comments each day . And I had a blast when I came home from a holiday to find "the gang " had a silly buggers party while I was away on my thread. Too bad about the bad comments or insukting ones , hope I haven't inadvertantly done that.

Mrs Mom said...

I think you and I see things differently at times, which is why I enjoy popping over here so much to read.

And I surely did hug my horse today- about ten times ;)

Have an awesome day out there NM! Rubs to your critter crew from this little corner of the world.

Sydney said...

People never think about or know in some cases about a think called nettequite. They think just because it's the internet and you are not face to face with someone that it's ok to say rude things. I've hugged my horses today =D

Amy said...

re subject matter. hmmm, this blog is about your life with horses. riding, training, keeping horses. and all that goes with it. so im wondering how on earth are you supposed to have new and different subjects? i look forward to your musings bec you have a very different lifestyle then me and i like to know how people live, what bugs them, what they love, what their horses and dogs are like. how this life came to be. if i wanted harvard research on different things then i wouldnt read this blog. im just sayin' if you get comments complaining about the topics -- that is just ridiculous. i want to read about the neighbors dropping dead in their junkyard yard!!

Fantastyk Voyager said...

People are a strange breed, aren't we?

Even when we can't get along something draws us together, only to bring out the worst. And likewise, when we really need a comforting shoulder, we suddenly find our good friends have turned their backs on us.

I enjoy reading blogs, even if I don't always comment on everyone's, I try never to be negative. Hopefully I never, ever, hurt or offend anyone by what I say or don't say. If I have, I'm sorry.

Oh, to be with a horse, always consistent in showing us how and what they feel, that is the very best friend to have, isn't it?

People are strange, indeed.

sue said...

Oh I hope you don't "cut down in your blogging!!!" I for one check your blog almost every day and GREATLY enjoy it.... please don't stop and please write about all the things that you do!!!! from your "wonderful neighbor" to your training lessons... they're grand!!!! and I was looking forward to watching the kitchen project!!!!

Mary Olson said...

Glad you wrote that last paragraph because I was just about to start sifting for anything offensive I might have said.

Cheryl Ann said...

Nuzz, I hear 'ya! I really now only have about 6 blogs that I visit every morning. I have lots saved in "favorites", but I don't have the time to visit them! I need to go through them and weed some out! You are right...our time is precious.

Shirley said...

Good post, NuzMuz! Hope I haven't left any of the comments you found offensive- but if I did, feel free to blast me! And yes, Beamer gets hugged every day- at least once!

Laughing Orca Ranch said...

I'm one of those who have moved away from being chatty on my blog and using more photos instead. I have experienced snarky, hurtful comments by a some people, as you are already aware of. It's a shame, really.
I also have to moderate and approve comments, which I dislike very much, and it's not because of the worry of spam, but the hassle of dealing with very opinionated and rude people who feel it is their duty to make sure everyone knows how they feel about any issue. Even issues that don't affect them personally at all.

Yours has always been a blog I enjoy visiting, though. I love that you share your personal experiences even if they aren't always cheerful and positive. You, my friend, keep it real. And we need more of that in the real world. :)

Yes, I have hugged my horse today. She tolerates it, though I can't say she loves it. lol! She does love the apples and carrots I've been feeding her, though. It's funny that I have to bribe her for a hug. lol!

I'd rather hang out with my horse and other animals than most people, though. People seem to always let me down. I'm a very open, generous, giving person and I don't ever 'keep score' and expect people to 'owe me' for anything I do for them. And I can't stand being around people who do just that. Why are people so complicated. I should have been born an animal. bah.