Some Thoughts on The Blog

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    Some Thoughts on The Blog

    I originally posted the comment below on Thursday's thread, I'm reposting here because I'd be interested in hearing other thoughts on the topics.  I originally commented on a post by BDCMod1 (which is included at the top of the post) which really got me thinking about the LL community in general.


    >>> BDCMod1 wrote: Mova, I don't mind stating that I reported that comment. And I hope the mods will not only remove it, but nuke the account. I think it's time people stopped apologizing for using the Report Abuse function and started participating in keeping the blog safe and friendly for everyone.

    And now, I don't need a timestamp distortion to predict that I will heckled yet again by the same little group that has no respect for anyone.


    I will attempt to keep this comment respectful and reasonable. 

    Nobody worries about reporting abuse on anyone. However, it is a valid point of view that the Report Abuse function has itself been abused by those who would take out their personal grudges and biases on other users. The limitations of the resources that BDC utilizes toward balanced moderation of the blog exacerbates problems on all sides, through inconsistency of enforcement and a transparently manipulable system.

    As far as keeping the blog "safe and friendly," I think that everyone at BDC should look at what they have here. This blog is a tremendous asset in terms of traffic and user interest. It has one of those "undefinably cool" vibes that creates natural buzz and draws people in. That "cool" factor is undeniably in part due to the unique dynamic of the commenter community - a dynamic that existed long before I ever got here. Part of that dynamic is a long leash - giving users the freedom to discuss a variety of topics, while ensuring that people don't go "too far" and hijack the blog for unintended purposes or patently offensive commentary. That long leash results in the natural and frequent occurrence of disagreements, conflicts, and the introduction of topics that people may be uncomfortable discussing. 

    In my opinion, BDC needs to treat their "cool" asset in the way that Facebook was handled (at least if we are to believe "The Social Network"). In Facebook's case, they resisted monetizing the site through ads for a long time, because that would kill the cool. In BDC's case, smothering the inter-commenter dynamic through excessive moderation could have the cool-killing effect. We've already seen what's happened when timestamping prevents real-time interaction (comments down 30-50%), and the impact was immediate. My belief is that heavy-handed attempts to more fully sanitize the blog and "protect" some imaginary group of consumers will have a longer-term, negative effect that will ultimately unravel the blog in a permanent manner.

    I like this blog and dozens of the people here. I don't wish to be banned from it and will make a greater attempt to be respectful toward its author and the mods. And I hope that all parties concerned at BDC are thoughtful in their future approach toward managing this here thing, whatever it is.
  2. You have chosen to ignore posts from wizen. Show wizen's posts

    Re: Some Thoughts on The Blog

    One of the things that drew me into LL was the interplay between some of the regulars - moreso than the quality of the letters or many of the other aspects of LL.  Yes, I know things can be contentious at times, but we're talking about human beings, and the positives outweigh by far the negatives, which can be ignored or if they're really egregious - reported.  With the number of page views LL gets per day, a post that hasn't been reported by even one of those readers, probably does not need to be removed.  

    All the removed posts and together with the time stamp issue have totally hosed the interplay that brought me here, so I am not enjoying LL as much as I used to. 
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    Re: Some Thoughts on The Blog

    I don't like being told what is "safe and friendly" to read.  It gives the impression that I am some sort of child that needs someone to feed sanitized information to me to protect my fragile little mind.

    I understand this is a family site and whatnot, but my issues are this:

    1) You need to be over 18 to have an account, right?  If you're over 18 and don't like cursing/innuendo/sarcasm, then by all means either ignore it like you're capable of doing, or just skip the comments altogether.

    2) To the point of #1, more often than not you have to be logged in to even read comments which means you have to create an account.  So it's not like these comments are just staring people in the face when they read if they don't have an account.

    I mean, the letters themselves can sometimes deal with "adult" situations, no?  LWs putting themselves in compromising positions, talking about dairy products on bread that have been freshly cooked on a griddle, etc...  I don't know.  If you comment here or read here, I think you know what you're getting into, and they shouldn't rely on some white knight to swoop in and protect them from the naughty words.

    That makes it less fun and invites contempt.
  11. You have chosen to ignore posts from McBostonrob. Show McBostonrob's posts

    Re: Some Thoughts on The Blog

    Well I have a lot more than 2 cents to offer here. 

    I think the LL community does a pretty good job of policing itself, in terms of calling out people who are unnecesarily abusive.  Not a perfect job, but pretty good. 

    I think bullying is rare and when it does happen, it isn't tolerated.

    There are definitely some problems with the "in-crowd."
    The biggest problem I see is that they tend to focus only on one another, so newbie-lurker types can easily feel left out or ignored.  But there are memebers of the in-crowd who go out of their way to welcome people to the "sandbox" (gag) so that helps balance things to an extent. 
    It's also true that people in the "in-crowd" sometimes defend one another rgardless of right or wrong, and similarly they often look the other way when one of their own is misbehaving.  But the "in-crowd" has become fractured into factions sufficiently that they tend to watch for this behavior in opposing factions.  It's stupid middle-school drama crap, but it actually helps in the self-policing aspect of the blog. 

    The sexual innuaendo goes way too far for my tastes, but it's been going on for so long that I can only assume that BDC approves of it, so I keep my mouth shut about it, for the most part. 

    I'm sure I have other thoughts that I'll add as they come to me.  But I think my final word on this topic will always be that as long as we don't take ourselves and each other too seriously, we'll all be fine 99 percent of the time.
  12. You have chosen to ignore posts from Trigger11. Show Trigger11's posts

    Re: Some Thoughts on The Blog

    In Response to Re: Some Thoughts on The Blog:
    "Zeptember accused me of being an emotionless robot." That was supposed to be a compliment.
    Posted by Zeptember

    That's how I saw it!
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    Re: Some Thoughts on The Blog

    In Response to Re: Some Thoughts on The Blog:
    In Response to Re: Some Thoughts on The Blog : Porkchop - a community isn't ruled by a committe of one.
    Posted by Corporate-Hippie-Chick

    You're absolutely right CHC - and the same can be said about your comment regarding the technical glitch being "enjoyable" to you.
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    Re: Some Thoughts on The Blog

    In Response to Re: Some Thoughts on The Blog:
    Normal society reaction when someone finds your comments offensive: 'I'm sorry'.  [Explain misunderstanding, make amends, or stop offensive behavior] Love Letters reaction: IT MUST BE YOU.  I'M NOT CHANGING.  GO AWAY dysfunctional. absurd considering that this is a blog where we give advice on relationship issues.
    Posted by Corporate-Hippie-Chick

    CHC, to your point, a community isn't ruled by a committee of one.  What's offensive to one person isn't necessarily offensive to another.

    Being an adult means that yes, you try not to offend people, but one can't be held responsible for everything that will get someone else's knickers in a knot.  Going through life sugarcoating everything you say so that nobody's feelings ever get hurt is an unrealistic way to go through life.
  16. You have chosen to ignore posts from diamondgirl. Show diamondgirl's posts

    Re: Some Thoughts on The Blog

    Thank you for opening this topic up, Eddy.  I think it is a worthwhile one. 

    Theoretically, the purpose of Meredith's advice column is for her to provide the letter writer with advice.  Any comment any of us makes in the comment section below is purely our own opinion, and only has to be as on topic as Meredith is prepared to put up with.  If Meredith started going on about texting while driving, the best way to bribe the beer guy into giving out sixpacks, or opinions on lentil recipes, that would be wrong. 

    Meredith has shown with her tolerance that she values the strange, new little community her readers have made more than she values staying strictly on topic.  As Eddy points out, it has caught a little piece of Cool, which as a commodity online is a thousand times more important and rare than opinions on relationship advice.

    It's self policing nature is part of the magic.  It has been popular to look down on the regular commenters as being internet idiots, bored blathers with nothing to do and less to say, but infact, if you read other blogs and forums... we are a remarkably well-behaved group of Net Denizens.

    Part of letting a group be self-policing is tolerating the imbalance every time the inevitable alliances form and reform.  And the group is very accepting to new people, despite protests otherwise - I was a new person to Dread and Bruins and Alice and Tricia, and Geoff and Powdergirl and Vish and Porkchop are new people to me.  The only requirement we have for newcomers is that they speak up reasonably rationally.

    This kind of community, speaking as a 12 year veteran of various communitites online, cycles a lot.  The culture changes fairly rapidly.  It's like college only much faster - 25% of the people filter out, and more filter in, every cycle.

    The important thing to keep in mind is that if you crush that Cool, it is gone.  And you can't guarantee you'll get it back.  And BDC is trying very hard, I imagine, to keep that Cool.  I dislike people reporting on each other for personal reasons because personal grudges are what is going to kill that Cool, in the end.  And the new group of people not privy to the old grudges might create the Cool again.... or they might not. 

    The reason BDC lets us have so much room is that they have to, in order for this to work.  Much like in order to get Eddy's (or any satirist's) truly biting, funny material, you have to put up with some real cringe-worthy stuff.  In order to get the occasional brilliance of this community, you have to put up with the weirdness.

    I don't like the overtly sexual stuff, either.  Or the p00pie talk.  Or when someone brings politics onto the blog.  Or the song lyrics.  I just close the blog, though, because once you start drawing your own lines on what is and is not acceptable, you are cutting pieces out of the Cool.  You have to ignore the pieces you don't like in order to get the pieces you do.  And if you don't like any of it, then one has to wonder why you aren't doing something else?
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    Re: Some Thoughts on The Blog

    But I think my final word on this topic will always be that as long as we don't take ourselves and each other too seriously, we'll all be fine 99 percent of the time.

    Just thought this was worthwhile to repeat.

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    Re: Some Thoughts on The Blog

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    Re: Some Thoughts on The Blog

    I will also agree with McRob. This place is not the easiest to break into. It takes some luck, and getting your comment noticed and remarked upon by the right people on here and as I pointed out during the estephre affair (no pun intended) that regulars can get away with stuff that a lurker or LW would be crucified for.  This is natural, but so is the antipathy that this situation can create for those outside of it. Likewise, there are the favored among the regulars and those who regularly become targets and frankly, I find it somewhat exhausting.

    I've been insulted and attacked on this blog on a couple of occasions, without cause and without the defense of others here, but I have never hit the report abuse button on anything but spam because I rather let the comment stand so that that person looks like the jerk they are, and because I don't give an ounce what people I don't even know, and who don't know me, think about me. I think people here do take things a little too personally, and their response is to get nasty in return.

    That being said, while I tend to agree that the worst of it is indeed self-policed, the report abuse button is both underused and misused. I fully believe that there are people here, whether they are regulars or lurkers abuse to advance their own agenda. On the other hand, the ability to use it is often ignored by people who rather get into flame wars and retaliatory attacks on here when they feel attacked. But part of the problem lies on the moderating end, where there does not seem to be clear rules guiding removal of posts and that is a problem.

    As for the innuendo, some days it is just gross, but I agree with McRob that it's been tolerated here for so long, there's no reason to fight against the current when I can just walk away and I think that's the take home message. We do not have to be here, and while we do all have a responsibility to watch what we say and how we say it, people need to take personal responsibility and walk away when they're uncomfortable.
  23. You have chosen to ignore posts from Trigger11. Show Trigger11's posts

    Re: Some Thoughts on The Blog

    Interesting subject...


    Please don’t mind me as I make a few comments. I ask that you read the whole thing, because I plan to make a few personal points based upon my interactions as well as overall what I have seen in here.


    I think that far too many people push the limits and even go too far. I don’t care about innuendos and whatnot, but some of the attacks on both the LWs and other LLers is just too much and deserves to get removed. It’s like with my wife, the whole you catch more flies with honey routine. If she only knew how much more effective she could be and get her way on so much more if she would just ask and be nice. Same goes for a lot of you. I wasn’t surprised by Meredith’s comment earlier this week about keeping it nicer. I know what it is like to be confused and not know what to do. But the responses start getting nasty and accusatory on page 1 most days.


    Just like my situation, the whole story isn’t there. Whether it is one side or just filtered, the fact that so many jump to conclusions and start attacking the LWs can be a bit disgusting. And I am not talking about asking questions and conjecturing about things. One person can say “cheater” and most of the rest of the blog is flaming the LW for being a cheater even if they haven’t actually cheated (for example). Why don’t we try to open up the LW’s thought process and see a different point of view rather than flame them for being stupid? Not everyone reacts well to negative criticism. It doesn’t make it right or wrong, but we don’t know the LW personally (in most cases), so we don’t know the best way to approach them. I also don’t believe in sugarcoating it either. There should be a respectful middle ground to get the point across without flaming.


    I have only once reported a comment and that was when I reported someone for using the same three-letter acronym I once used that included an “F” and I really only reported it to see if there would be fair moderation. The comment I reported never did get removed. I had assumed mine was removed because the common term for that “F” was the queen mother of all dirty words. I got my answer. The person that I reported is a regular, well-respected, and doesn’t particularly care for me, but it wasn’t personal. Oh well!


    I definitely see cliques. I have joked about my imaginary ones, but have since privately apologized even though I never meant it as disrespectful. I don’t have any personal issues with anyone on here. I respect people’s honesty, even if they should probably learn better communication skills. It is far too easy to say the things the way they get posted on here than it is to say it to someone’s face. I’d imagine our opinions of each other would be far different if we were all sitting in a room together. Those that have had this opportunity seem to have a different level of connection that at times makes those of us who haven’t feel like outsiders. There is not much you can do about that and it isn’t even wrong regardless. I know how I feel at times and I have also seen newbies come in and seem to feel the same way.


    I must admit, I like most of the dynamic on here. I do wish I could go back and not have the meltdown earlier this year, but I was in a difficult place emotionally and unfortunately you guys were my outlet. While it is obvious I will probably never be able to not bring it up again and get all defensive about it, I am intentionally taking breaks from here to avoid that. I don’t want to leave, but I also don’t want to drag this place down when I am having difficulty filtering things.


    Much respect,


    Trigger 11

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    Re: Some Thoughts on The Blog

    Butterflyz, did you know Seebell challenged me to a fist fight once?  She told me to shut my big fat mouth a bunch.  mcrob called me a bad wife.  Zeptember accused me of being an emotionless robot.  One poster (not regular) told me she hoped I got struck by lightning.  How kind.

    But you are right - all you can do is roll your eyes.  And sometimes, when you see one of those situations break out, defending the perceived victim just throws more fuel on the fire.  You have to decide whether you are going to get all bonkers over it, or whether you are going to just say; 'Well - today is not a Love Letters Day.'