Thursday, June 17, 2010

People Who Are NOT Cool

I love blogworld. I've met some of the most fascinating people and been privileged with exposure to much better writers. But there are always those people. The ones who point out your typos in the comment thread. COME ON. That is grade. It reeks of "I'm smarter than you are and I just wanted to make sure everybody knows it." It's like online heckling.

Unsolicited critique in a public forum is even worse. Somebody posts a poem or flash fiction and does not finish with a request for your thoughts? Don't put your negative thoughts in the comment thread. If they want a beta reader they will let you know. A contest setting or a submission for critique is totally different. Then you can let it rip.

Every blog I follow has an email address linked to it. Use it. Most people are open to improvement and appreciate a chance to fix a mistake they didn't catch but it's nice to have a chance to do it on the down low.

This situation came up on a friend's blog last week. It was low profile, everyone was cool about it, but I felt my latent defensive streak flex. If I knew where to find the commenter, I'd fill her Splenda packets with salt.

Anyway, in a private conversation with the lucky person who gracefully accepted the public illumination of each possible flaw in her research I came up with the following:

I wouldn't use a microphone to tell you that there is toilet paper on your shoe.


  1. Oh, the ladies of blogdom are full of such blessed angst today, ARE THEY NOT? I had to email my post comment to Le R... I may have to do the same with this one. Yes. I think I will.

  2. Must be the summer swelter steaming us all to a simmer.

    Boo-yah! How's that for some alliteration?

  3. I don't mind people being honest - but there is a difference between honest and blunt. I was a bit annoyed to receive this comment from someone
    "I have several thoughts, several suggestions, but would refrain from posting them publicly. Are you on YAlitchat? If not you should join. VERY valuable source for YA writers. When you do, find me, and I'll send you my thoughts via e-mail"
    especially when as you mentioned you can easily send the person a message. I ended up having to join YAlitchat which I didn't really want to do and I'm beginning to think wasn't worth it.
    I just wish they'd made the comments there and then! I welcome opinions - I don't just want compliments :)

  4. @ Nicole: Yeah, that would have rubbed me the wrong way, too. Translation:

    Wow. You really need work.

    Everyone who follows your blog should know how much work you really need.

    I might deign to help you out, but only if you sign up with whatever chatroom I call my stomping ground and hunt me down.

    Even if that was not the poster's intent, it comes across officious and condescending. And for all you know they are just some tool who isn't really anybody you should care about. And honestly, they probably aren't anybody you should care about.

    Serious writers want critique. Serious critters, who are hopefully writers, provide it. In the appropriate setting.

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