On Saturday, I published a post about my lovely daughter's birthday, including a bit of reminiscing about the past.
Sunday morning, a longtime friend sent me a note and told me someone had left an "ugly" comment on my post and that I might want to delete it.
For what it's worth, I have very thick skin. I used to write for a major newspaper, and I’m not at all offended by the opinion of others, even when they vehemently disagree with my own. The only thing I ever demanded from my readers was a respectful tone and no foul language when addressing me, personally.
I respect your right to disagree with me. But if you can't disagree in a respectful manner, then you won't be heard past the first disrespectful sentence. I won't even read what you took the time to write, because you weren't able to disagree respectfully, one adult to another. Which means, if your goal was to "inform" me of something, you lost your chance to do that, and that's unfortunate for both of us.
The above sentiments are how I felt when writing my opinion in a public newspaper. In the case of my blog, multiply that times a million. Although my blog appears in public, it's also my blog, and I won’t allow anyone to say anything in a disrespectful manner, which is the reason I decided to take down the "ugly" comment, without even reading it. If a trusted friend called it "ugly," then I'm certain it was, so once I saw the rather interesting profile name of “Unknown” in my comments section, I simply hit the delete key and never read a single word of whatever "unknown" wrote.
I can tolerate anonymous commenters, and I enjoy hearing opposing opinions, but if you're an anoymous commenter who can't express an opposing opinion in a respectful manner, then I consider you someone who just harrasses others, while hiding behind a screen. Perhaps you should consider getting your own blog and finding your own readers. As I see it, I have better things to do than read somone's disrespectful comments on my own blog. I have the same policy where email is concerned. If you're disrespectful and demeaning, you won't be heard or read by me. Free speech doesn't mean a free platform for speaking; that has to be earned.
In nine years of blogging, other than the occasional spam, I’ve never had to delete a comment, which isn't a bad record. Still, for now at least, I will approve all comments before they are published. It's always the little foxes that spoil the vines, don't you know.
On the bright side, yesterday I received an email from a dear blogging friend who had read the comment before it was taken down. She expressed hurt that someone tried to hurt me with his or her words, and she was grateful that I had removed the offensive comment, which made me feel all teary inside, having people like her in blogland who care and are concerned about another's well-being. I feel the same about all of you.
Sadly, the world is filled with folks who have an ax to grind, who hold tightly to petty grievances, who seem to take pride in cutting others down. They often hide behind a screen, or appear on social media under fake names, not quite brave enough to put a face or a name behind their words. Truth is, I feel sorry for them, but I don't ever give such people an audience, and you don't have to either.
Until next time, dear friends, I plan to keep on keeping on. Won't you join me?