Sunday, 17 July 2011

The Blogger's Dilemma

I have been fortunate over the past four years: I have written what I wanted to write, my family have permitted me to write about them and encouraged me when I have faltered and my readers have contributed their own dazzling array of comments. I have made good friends and the correspondence has continued by email and on rare but precious occasions by actually meeting up.

I rarely get genuinely anonymous comments – they are mainly MrM trying to avoid responsibility for a lurid pun and these get deleted immediately.

I would like to put the following recent anonymous comments forward for your consideration:

"Yes your children are brighter than all of our dim wits. Obviously. Apparently destined for heights ours cannot even dream of. The shame of having ordinary children."

"Such boasting is upsetting to us and our children - have you thought of that? Why do we have to think it is ok to have inplied (sic) critisism at us but not for it to be returned? "


I would have hoped that it was obvious to anyone who has read this blog that every family, and ours is no exception, has ups and downs. I choose not to discuss difficult family issues in a public forum and I have made this clear on a number of occasions. As a result I still have permission from my family to write about them and I try hard not to push the boundaries of that permission.

My view is that anonymous comments like these – presumably by the same person – do not have a place on this blog. I assume that the anonymous writer feels they have the right to write whatever they want in this public space but it is my blog and I choose what gets published. If that person wishes to discuss the perceived inadequacies of their children they should do so on their own blog.

The saddest thing about these comments is that there is no such thing as an “ordinary child” –every single one of them has extraordinary gifts that make them special and it is the responsibility of the parent to help their child discover those gifts and celebrate them.

53 comments:

  1. An anonymous letter or comment isn't really worth the paper or in this case screen its written on,the cowards way out. I wonder would these people have said this to your face? I hope this doesn't discourage you, I really enjoy your blog.

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  2. There is no dilemma, my sweet.

    Miserable people say miserable things.

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  3. A commentbox always reveals more about the commenter than about the blogger.

    That is what makes commentboxes so beautiful and, sometimes, so ugly.

    Unfortunately the latter is in play here. Please don't take it to heart dear Alice.

    E x

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  4. I wonder why, if your writing upsets people, that they read you at all? I have read blogs that irritate me because of bad spelling or grammar, or introduce music without telling me beforehand, or some other annoyance but I don't make a disparaging remark, I simply ignore the whole thing and never read them again. It is so much easier. Please don't be discouraged.

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  5. OMG, my comment appeared simultaneously with bb's!!!

    You see - commentboxes can really be magically beautiful!!

    I told you so!!!

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  6. What blackbird said!

    I feel for anonymous' children as he/she can evidently see no extraordinariness in them. And that's a shame.

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  7. If you don't like what someone says just delete and move on. That way, they gain no satisfaction from knowing that their comments hurt you.

    Oh, and if you're me, stalk them through their IP address and call them out on it.....

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  8. What bizarre comments, I don't really understand them. I had some unpleasant comments a few days ago. Someone said I didn't like children which was very odd. I wish now that I'd just deleted them as Ali advises. I tend to enter into an argument instead which is a bit silly as I'm sure people only leave such comments to provoke a reaction.

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  9. KitKatCotJuly 17, 2011

    Take absolutely no notice.

    I have been lurking here for years without comment but your dilemma has 'outed' me. I love reading about your family but I am under no illusion that everything has been plain sailing.

    The enjoyment of my day would be less if I didn't have the 'M' family to read about.

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  10. I always read but don't comment, your way with words is a delight as are your photos and pictures.
    A risk we run by inviting comments on our blogs is that someone will be negative or critical but those comments are far outnumbered by the good, from those on our wavelength.

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  11. You once gave some very good advice, which I have tried to heed - your blog is your space, to make of whatever you desire. If people want to be mean, delete at will.

    A couple of unkind anonymous comments are part of what has kept me away from my blog for so much of this year. I very much hope they don't have the same effect on you.

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  12. Alice, I think you have handled this so well, as you have given the commenter's remarks in full and rebutted them firmly, but kindly.
    It is so hard to find that balance in writing online when people are unpleasant. I can imagine such a person probably gives his/her friends grief about their kids too, so it is not really that strange that they speak in kind online - but such people can be very confronting, when our own purposes are simply to celebrate life as we live it, not some pie in the sky. Congratulations, and remember we all love your writing and your family :D

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  13. Dear Alice your blog was the first I came across after discovering my cousins blog. I was so entranced I worked backwards and read most of your posts. I love it still.
    There are all kinds of people in the world, unhappily some are fuelled by envy and spite. They have no idea how hard you must work to live the life that you do, within the values that you hold dear. They have a choice to do the same. Instead they criticise. How pointless and sad.

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  14. Blackbird summed it up perfectly.
    Anyone who reads your blog(who is not a miserable sour puss)cannot help but catch the spirit of your intent.

    no...if i were you, i would not leave these comments on your blog.

    And i hope you find some blessed sunshine (in one form or another) in Cornwall.

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  15. Sour comments have no place on our blogs if we haven't actually sought people's frank opinions!. Those of us who Follow yours know perfectly well that, like us, you edit the family stories you share, and that you don't share everything.

    And what you do share gives us huge amusement as well as admiration; I love the range of your snippets of family life, and feel sorry for that miserable commenter who was so wide of the mark.

    Carry on, Alice; your readers need you!

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  16. ashropshirelassJuly 17, 2011

    I'm another anonymous 'lurker' who has been enjoying your blog for a year now...there's no vaunting here...only sharing. Thank you for sharing..it's a delight.

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  17. Once again (don't I always ...) I can only second Bb and add that cowards will be cowards, in real life and on blogs, where they can hide (but only to a certain point because maybe they don't realize EVERYONE can be traced) behind "anonymous".
    I had the pleasure of meeting you and I am SURE this will be forgotten by tonight, you are too clever and too strong.

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  18. Oh my! What pain some people harbour. Your family is what it is, as is mine, as is that of Anonymous. I look forward to reading your blog, I've pointed several friends towards it and I miss you when you take a break. I know I will not be offended, confused or irritated by your writing. I feel rather sorry for Anonymous actually.

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  19. How sad that people go through life looking for something to complain about. They look for slights and if they can't find them they invent them. So Blog on, we love you.

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  20. Feeling sad for you and sad for Anonymous. And sad for my dear friend DottyC, now that I have read her comment.

    Celebrating what's good and right about our lives via a blog is a lovely thing. If doing so makes someone else feel bad, that's something for them to own and examine, not us.

    Dreaming of a world where we all can be gentle with one another. As Socrates said, "Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle." xoxo

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  21. good grief. a touch of the green eyed monster at work I'm thinking, turning someone into a sourpuss.... such a shame.

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  22. I find these sort of comments inexplicable - you do well to delete them and move on, Alice. If they can't see the special qualities in their own children, I think the fault must be with them. If they don't want to hear about your children, don't read your blog.

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  23. Gosh, how mean is that?! I have no children (ordinary or otherwise) but I love your blog anyway because it's intelligent and funny. There are blogs out there that irritate me, but I know enough to know that has nothing to do with the blogger. And there's such a simple solution: I don't read them... C.x

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  24. I am sorry for the downright spitefulness that was sent your way.
    Your writing and photos are such a lovely addition to my day, and I thank you. Please know that you have so many readers who are blessed to be in this space of yours.

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  25. As the first comment says anonymous comments are worthless as their author is too cowardly to own up to them - your last paragraph about there not being an ordinary child is so true - I remember the daughter of a friend of mine who was about 3 years older than my eldest finding most academic work extremely challenging at primary school. As you would expect this caused her mother much anguish and worry. She was concerned about the challenges she would face through her life with lower attainment levels in both literacy and numeracy. However much I tried to reassure her that every child has worth albeit sometimes in different directions she still worried until one day she watched her daughter with younger children especially my two toddlers - she had a magic with little children akin to the Pied Piper and finally her mum realised that even though she might find academic subjects a real challenge she did have a natural talent in another direction which would serve her so well in later life. All children have worth, sadly not all adults have removed their blinkers to recognise this. Please don't alter the way you post Alice it's always lovely to hear your take on both your family and on life and your posts often make me smile and usually make me pause for thought.

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  26. WOW!

    What a twit. Ignore them , delete them. Celebrate your gifts.

    I have had terrible times with my youngest recently, and yet I still love to read of yours. Ignore this fool.

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  27. I read this post and the air was sucked out of my body. When I could think again, my mind scurried, wondering what in the world could have triggered such disparaging comments.
    I agree with your kind readers, the problem is deep within the anonymous commenter.
    The thing about deleting the sick comments is, unfortunately you have already read them and been punched. Might it be better to keep them posted so the author of the comment sees how hurtful they are?
    No, I think not, it is not our job to teach them social skills and kindness. Their own mother missed the boat on that one, and I fear for their own children.
    I am voting with delete. Toxic is as toxic does, and there is no place for that in a space of beauty.

    A note to Anonymous: Please read Parenting from the Inside Out by Daniel J. Siegel, M.D. and Mary Hartzell, M.Ed. It is never to late.

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  28. I read your blog daily. I am enthralled with hearing the tales of your family, and of a land that is on the other side of the ocean from me. I am also a teacher, but not a mother. I have sat through parent-teacher conferences with parents who have comments like those of anonymous. These are the parents with children who have no self esteem, or dreams. Every child is a gift from the Lord, and every child should be deemed absolutely extraordinary by their parents. I am sorry for the children of anonymous. But I am excited that your children are able to spread their wings and fly, to experience the world outside of their own backyard. You are indeed a good and loving mother.

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  29. Blogland is a wonderful place for making me feel inadequate if I'm in the mood - there are opportunities, choices, possibilities and lifestyles on show that I could never attain. It would be easy to be bitter and envious, and to direct that bitterness towards someone else; and it would also be easy to forget that every time we blog, we edit our lives considerably.

    Lynn's right - we're all fighting a battle. You don't deserve to be in the firing line, though, Alice. Not at all.

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  30. One wonders why someone reads the blog at all if it makes them feel unhappy!?! I love your stories - I often want to talk more personally about my life and family and really admire AND enjoy reading about yours. Amazing how so many wonderful comments, can still be sullied by someone airing the random mean one. So sorry for your experience with that, but blog on sistah!! You have many many admirers!

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  31. Oh Alice, honestly some people have nothing better to do don't they, but I know how these things can stop you in your tracks...except I feel sure this won't stop you. I'm here because you left a comment on my blog, Bookhound followed the link to yours and was having a read and came to tell me 'She'd better not be stopping' I said' 'that's Alice who we have to thank for showing us where Jericho's is after all those years of us living here and not knowing!'...'Too right she'd better not stop, ' he replied most emphatically.
    See you at Port Eliot x

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  32. I've never understood why people watch tv programmes, then write to the BBC to compain about them. The same is true of blogs- if you don't like it, don't read it. By the way, I really missed yours whilst you were on your hols ;)

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  33. I love your blog AS IS. Don't change anything, I love hearing about your kids and your husband. It is an unfortunate part of being a part of the human race that some people are just MEAN for no reason whatsoever. I say delete their comments and ignore the nastiness. Most of the blogs I read edit comments and I am totally ok with that, because they are not designed to be controversial blogs. Keep up the work, I love reading your blog.

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  34. It is "anonymous" that has the problem, not you. What they write says a lot more about them than you. Everyone who blogs knows that we present an edited version of our lives. If someone doesn't like what we write then there is no need to read... never mind comment. Don't stop writing Alice... you bring a lot of joy. I for one would miss you immensly.

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  35. AnonymousJuly 17, 2011

    Dear Alice - I agree totally with Gina. Your blog of family life has helped me through difficult times in the past and I am truly saddened that you have been attacked in this way. Please continue to delight your many friends with your beautiful words of wisdom and laughter and I hope you find comfort in the obvious affection all these comments show. Bobby x

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  36. Out we all come, the lurkers, the many who read but do not usually comment, enjoying your pictures, your thoughts (I almost said your poetry, for that's what it reads like), and your multitude of small delights which in turn become ours and enrich our days. Thank you for all those things.

    All of us who have families know and share those moments of pride, of humour and of reflection. We never for a moment imagine that you are doing anything but sharing the joys and concealing the concerns, the worries, the disappointments and the fears which are equally part of family life.

    You are right to ignore anyone who only wants to spread malice and resentment. Please don't take such remarks to heart.

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  37. aurora rabyJuly 17, 2011

    I simply cannot understand someone doing this especially to leave such comments anonymously.
    Take heart and ignore.

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  38. I love your blog for its warmth, poetry and humanity. Pay no attention to this petty person - sadly the internet makes it easy to make snide remarks and hide away.

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  39. How sad that a person can be so blinded as to not see the gifts that every person has to offer, especially from their own children. I have spent many years raising other people's children and have found that every single one of them has something beautiful about them. Some people will always need a guide to recognizing their saints.
    The link to your site is in my favorite blogs folder, second only to BB's. I enjoy your beautiful pictures and your proper British spelling.
    I'm usually hungry when I leave here, not angry of ashamed.

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  40. Alice everyone has commented so wisely before me.

    As someone else said I cannot even understand the comments.

    Jealousy prompts strange impulses.

    I like everyone else come here for your words and photos which very often soothe me and delight me.

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  41. What a shame. Everybody has said it already before me - of course we edit our lives, doesn't everybody, on blogs or otherwise? It's a shame when someone so misunderstands the spirit a blog is written in, but the only thing you can do is delete and hope that that person finds another way to deal with what is going on in their lives.

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  42. i have never commented on a blog before, and blogs are a kinda guilty sometimes slightly masochistic pleasure of mine. bloggers, especially women who write about cupcake making and bunting making, can make one feel a little.....less? But, yours is a blog i love. i do not read it as being about a lifestyle , it seems to me more an expression of your true creativity, and it is very beautiful. i particularly like it because you are an intersesting writer, i like the way you use words, and so the subject is secondary. keep going, i read your blog as i would a short story, a little sea of sanity amid the bunting and chintz.

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  43. There is a saddening trend for unkind words in comment boxes this year. I don't know why it has started but I'm so sad that you have experienced it. I hope all these good good comments have heartened you and you continue just as before. We will be reading and smiling, just as before.

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  44. What a shame that someone has chosen to be so rude. I think your blog is a beautifully written account of the little things that make you happy and it should remain so. If people do not like what you write, they are under no obligation to read it so please continue in whichever manner you choose. x

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  45. HenriettaJuly 18, 2011

    So saddened to read those anonymous comments. I quite understand your hurt, and commend your bravery in sharing them with your readers.

    Reading through all the comments should I hope re-assure you that the problem is not yours but theirs.

    I read your blog most days. Your photographs and succinct words are always something to look forward to.

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  46. I'm just back reading this today after a day away. I wanted to say that for a long time I was reluctant comment on your blog because each post seems like poetry. Too well written for my clumsy comments! Like poetry, it is perfectly edited, a tiny snapshot, and a joy to read.

    Thank you.

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  47. Hell if they don't like the blog they don't have to read it!! Ignore them for the sad idiots they are.
    And to plagiarise the glorious Miss Austen, 'it's a truth universally acknowledged that everyone elses kids are smarter, more intelligent, politer, more talented and cleaner than ones own but not more loved.'

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  48. Watch it Hairy Puffball!! If someone chooses to write about their cupcake baking and that makes you feel inferior, the problem does not lie with the baker! (or the butcher or the candlestick maker!)

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  49. Whoa. Coming late to this. So sorry someone isn't seeing the beauty and humor of your writing and is instead perceiving some strange slight. Write on and right on, Alice! We love your work.

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  50. I agree with all the above!
    You're blog is a great read, please don't be discouraged by envious readers!!

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  51. I feel desperately sorry for the children of this blogger. To feel one's own children are so 'ordinary' and that that is shameful is so sad. It does not sound as though those children are appreciated or enjoyed. It is a sad soul who cannot enjoy other's happinesses. Take no notice.
    Iris

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  52. Just found this blog and was amused and captivated immediately! My PSB daughter informs me that the name for these miserable people is 'trolls'. It helps to keep it in perspective if you can picture them typing away in their dark caves, grubby and ugly creatures with no joy at all in their hearts... Jane G

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  53. Goodness Alice I just read this post and I have to say I am shocked....why do some feel they have to be nasty? I have to agree with Blackbird. It is hard not to let these silly things get to us but it is so not worth it. hugs Jen xx

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Thank you! I love reading your comments and even though I don't always have time to reply I am really grateful to every one who joins in the conversation.