What Stace had to say on Monday, March 14th, 2011
Rules of the Blog 2

It’s been over a year since I did the first Rules of the Blog post, so I figured this was as good a time as any to do another one.

My blog is not a political place. I know I have some very conservative readers, and they are welcome here. I know I have some very liberal readers, and they are welcome here. Anyone and everyone is welcome here.

I blogged about why I don’t blog about politics a few years back, and had some guy somewhere link to my post with one of those “This is what’s wrong with the world” kind of things, because according to him, “those of us who have brains have a responsibility to educate others.” The arrogance of that still astounds me. I would never presume that I’m so much smarter than my readers; why in the world would I? Most of my blog readers are readers of my books, so hello insult. Sorry, but I don’t write books for stupid people, so why would I assume my blog readers are stupid? (That doesn’t mean you’re stupid if you didn’t like my book[s], just that I don’t write them with some kind of lowest common denominator in mind.)

With anything on a blog, you’ll have people who stumble across it, love it, and decide to run out and buy my books, or there’ll be people who stumble across it, hate it, and decide never ever to buy one of my books. That’s just the way it goes. But to me, politics are different. There’s more of a chance for anger and hurt feelings. And as I said so long ago, I do not want the buying of my books to become a political act.

Basically, we don’t discuss politics here just because I want everyone to feel valued and welcome here. Because everyone is.

Which brings me to the next issue/rule. NO comment flaming. This is my blog; I say what goes here, and I have zero compunction about deleting comments I think are flame-y, rude to other readers, whatever. I don’t usually delete comments which are rude to me (although I have, when it’s a personal issue carried over from somewhere/something else) but I do delete comments which could be shitty to other commenters. I may give a warning–“Let’s keep in mind that this is supposed to be a fun place, shall we?”–if it looks like it could be heading that way. But I may not. Also, I can and will break the links back to your own blog/site if you’re being an asshole here; why should you get hits on your blog because you’re rude?

On the other hand–because this issue came up once–if two people are having what looks like a civil disagreement, I’m not going to interfere. Like I said, it came up years ago; two readers disagreed on something, and one of them emailed me, furious that I hadn’t “backed her up” but had allowed someone else to disagree with her. (I actually hadn’t “backed her up” because I disagreed with her too, and it seemed like a perfectly polite, calm discussion to me.) Honestly, as long as nobody’s engaging in name-calling or whatever else, I probably won’t step in to “back someone up.” Why? Because this is my blog, and me stepping in feels too much like I’m telling someone they’re not allowed to have an opposing viewpoint here. I may step in to confirm someone’s facts or whatever, but that is NOT me taking a side.

As I’ve said hundreds of times, my readers rock hard, so I don’t believe arguing in comments is ever going to be an issue.

Spam will be deleted immediately; I don’t think that’s a surprise to anyone.

Occasionally I post excerpts of WIPs. Occasionally people copy these and post them on their own blogs. I don’t have a problem with that, but I do ask that you link back to the original post, and please let me know about it, either through email or @ on Twitter or whatever. That goes for regular blog posts, too; you don’t have to tell me if you’re just linking to me or whatever, but if you’re quoting a sizable chunk of a post I’d appreciate a heads-up. Everything on this blog is protected by copyright, obviously.

Bottom line is, this website and blog is my “house.” You are all valued, welcomed guests here. But just like any guest in any house, certain things won’t be tolerated. (Again, this is aimed more at drive-by-type commenters, because I know my readers would never behave this way.)

I’m very, very tired of the idea that anything goes on the internet, that it’s okay to forget someone else is an actual person with feelings because you can’t see them. I’m tired of people behaving online in a way they never would in real life. Sure, as I’ve said before when I first started blogging I got swept up in things a few times; it’s easy to get swept up into things. But I’m heartily sick of it now. I’m sick of the idea that someone who made a mistake will never be forgiven for it, but will be haunted by it for the rest of their life. I’m sick of the idea that a throwaway comment means someone is an evil person who deserves on fear and pain in their lives (obviously, if the throwaway comment is racist or something that’s a different story). I’m sick of the idea that because someone made a statement public by posting it on the internet, that means it’s perfectly fine for hundreds of people to gang up on them and call them names. Imagine that same person making a statement with which you disagree at a party. Would you grab a few hundred other people and shout them into a corner? Doesn’t that feel a little like bullying to you? Yeah. It’s the same thing when it happens online. Some of that can’t be helped; you reach a lot of people on the internet, and those people are going to have opinions. But there’s a difference between disagreement and jumping all over someone. One respects humanity. The other doesn’t. One simply disagrees with the opinion, the other decides the holder of that opinion must be an idiot/asshole/attention whore/whatever.

I’m not saying people can’t have opinions about what others say or that they can’t state those opinions. I’m opinionated on things, certainly, although as I said before the focus of the blog is changing. I’m just tired of those opinions being stated as if the offending party is a worthless piece of shit, just because they shop at used bookstores or whatever (I’m deliberately trying to think of an example I haven’t seen before). And that’s not what we’re going to do here; it’s not ever something I want happening here.

I really don’t think any of these “rules” are going to have any effect on my regular readers. But I wanted to put them out there, so here they are. This is not the place for namecalling, flaming, comment wars, politics, and/or putting other people down. This is not the place to come if you’re looking for a fight.

And I think that’s it. It’s important to me that this be a good place, and a fun one, and because it’s important to me I’ll do what I have to do to keep it that way. I believe you all want the same thing, which is why none of this is usually a problem here.

I’m happy to have anyone and everyone here.

7 comments to “Rules of the Blog 2”

  1. Lisa S.
    · March 14th, 2011 at 3:14 pm · Link

    I never talk politics or religion, unless I’ve known someone for a very loooooonnnng time or it’s my lovely hubby or daughter.
    Also, I’m a big proponent of bringing MANNERS back. When did we all get the idea that we could be as hateful as we wanna be, all in the name of “honesty” or “sticking-up for one’s self”.
    Pssst, this rudeness trends real name is BULLY!

  2. Betsy Dornbusch
    · March 14th, 2011 at 4:47 pm · Link

    Seems reasoned and logical.

    I’ve been thinking of cutting out all politics discussions online because it always seems some jerkwad comes along and the discussion morphs into a flamewar. Sheesh. I don’t even care about politics that much.

    Generally, the people who get defensive/flame me tend to get flamed back by my friends big and bad. I rarely have to say a word, though I often do. That makes me feel bad, too, cuz maybe they’re just trying to express themselves the best they know how.

    I’ve learned a lot about dealing with people online. Gives this loner a chance to interact. Unfortunately, online seems to be getting just as polarized and segregated as real life. I’m glad you have a chance to bring some different types together.

  3. Marie
    · March 14th, 2011 at 8:08 pm · Link

    Your post, and Betsy’s comment, made me remember an experience I had online probably about ten years ago. Maybe it’s a bad example, because I wouldn’t say I was flamed or anything, but I certainly felt some hostility.

    For some reason (and I can’t remember why), we were discussing World War II or something, and I, being a non-American, non-native English speaker, made the mistake of talking about Jewish people as Jews. I wasn’t aware at that time that that connotation could be perceived as an insult, since we don’t make that distinction here. One person in particular jumped on that word and found it offensive, which made me a bit sad, because that was of course never my intention (which I explained to her).

    Sometimes, on the internet as well as in real life, emotions can get the better of us. But I think it’s good if we can take a moment to think if there are ways we could have misinterpreted what we just read, and ask the poster to clarify.

    Stacia, I follow a lot of the conversations you have with people on Twitter, and I’m amazed at and impressed with the way you respond. Sometimes, a commenter may express themselves in a way that sounds nasty/offensive, but you always ask them to clarify/explain themselves, and almost always it turns out they didn’t actually mean it the way it sounded. They were trying to say something completely different, but it ended up sounding bad because of the wording. That’s an important lesson; to not always assume the worst.

  4. Linzi
    · March 14th, 2011 at 8:30 pm · Link

    You put that really nicely and it’s great to read. I think the online world is still evolving.

    I saw a fascinating documentary the other night on UK TV. It covered evolution in other areas that we now take for granted.

    One of the examples was how when silent movies were first shown people used to chat with each other all the way through them. There was no sound – (sometimes some music) so what did it matter? And some, who didnt read well were dependant on friends to read the captions out to them. Others just hissed loudly at the baddy and cheered the hero.

    All in all it made going to movies a very noisy, boisterous, inter-active experience with much rustling of food packages and even mini picnic tables. They had footage of it – just hilarious!

    Then as sound, colour and more expensive entrance tickets arrived it became quieter and more respectful of others.

    I thought as I watched it that maybe Internet just needs a little time to grow up as well :-)

  5. Christine Rose Elle
    · March 14th, 2011 at 8:36 pm · Link

    I love your blog. It is awesome. I am grateful you share so much with us. Thanks for the terrific post. :mrgreen:

  6. BernardL
    · March 15th, 2011 at 9:41 am · Link

    Your books are highly entertaining fiction which potentially appeal to a very large audience of readers. It makes perfect sense to steer clear of a category of discourse like politics that is guaranteed to turn away a segment of your buying public. Many people find it impossible to separate their opinions from their fictional reading choices. If they read even a well reasoned comment by an author that disagrees with their preconceived notions they illogically stop buying the author’s work because of a disagreement having nothing to do with the writer’s fiction. I’d follow your books and blog no matter what you said. Your ‘Downside’ series was so different from the ‘Megan Chase’ series I nearly made the mistake of letting my aversion to drugs keep me from reading the best series I’ve read in decades. I won’t let that happen again. :)

  7. Crystal
    · March 21st, 2011 at 9:17 am · Link

    All’s I can say is – AMEN! I, too, am sick to death of people using the anonymity of the internet to attack people and be extremely rude and unkind. This is why I generally only use the net as a communication (with close friends and family via e-mail) and research tool – I just don’t need the extra crap. Thank you, Stacia, for your commitment to keeping your site a nasty-free zone (and for your rocking books, too – I’m a huge Megan Chase fan and have just started reading the Downside novels)!!!

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