A Gentle Reminder

Posted: March 15th, 2014 under Life beyond writing, Reader Help.
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No one here has made this mistake.  However, in the greater blogosphere, I see this kind of thing coming and going, and as far as this blog is concerned, I want it to go and stay away.

“What?  What’s wrong?” I hear you say.  

What’s wrong is commenters  on a blog disrespecting one another and claiming the high moral ground–using their own presumed superiority to dump on others.   Again I say–I am not seeing this here.   But I’m seeing a surge of it outside this blog.   Sometimes I see something caught in moderation, or on a listserv I’m on (I’m on a bunch of listservs–great way to lose track of time!), or in other blogs, or Twitter, etc.

And the only way to keep a blog free of same–to make it a safe place for visitors/regulars to chat peaceably about Paksworld– is rigorous moderation.   Some may consider it too rigorous, but (exercising the moderator’s right to make such decisions)  it’s my blog, so I get to be as picky as I want.    (And I know you don’t want to read rambling spam about how wonderful the blog is, that is from someone selling knockoff shoes, cheap watches, body part enlargement pills, so I moderate that right into the dumpster too.  Akismet catches most of it, but not quite all, so there’s always some new trick they try.)

Hence, the gentle reminder.  Everybody has a past that colors their attitudes.  Everybody has an ego.  Everybody–even the gentlest–has hot buttons.   We can enjoy the space and the conversations as long as we all remember that we are all equal (OK, I’m more equal, but that’s for the totally old-fashioned reason that I pay the bills to keep the lights on…I do consider myself one of the group.)   If someone really is morally superior, then let whatever Deity is considering that person morally superior keep score for later, and let everyone else have the benefit of the doubt.   (Since the people in Texas who most claim moral superiority are politicians and preachers whose main theme is hatred and whose income puts them well up the wealth ladder…I kinda doubt the self-proclaimed saints. )

When you sense you’ve stepped on someone’s hot button…back off.  We can disagree peaceably up to a point, and when that point shows up like the head light of a train coming down the track…get off the track.   As one old lady was heard to say “Y’all can fit an’ feud somewheres else–that’s my flower bed.  Git on now!”

And finally:  I say this not because you’re fittin’ and feudin’ in the flower bed, but because I want to head off any accidental lapses.  This is a polite little sign IN the flowerbed “Please do not stomp the flowers.”

(And why did that analogy show up?  Because the SXSW visitors have been tromping through a garden strip in the middle of my downtown church’s parking lot, right on top of baby bluebonnets, which has the head of the gardening guild in a royal snit.   “We did all that work…” he said in the first angry email to everyone remotely associated with it.   And of course bluebonnets are the state flower.  And that this stage in a bluebonnet’s life, it looks like a little gray-green weed: there is no flower.    And the crowds walk across the parking lot at night, because the bands play nearly all night long in one venue or another.  But he’s furious at the disrespect.  SIGH.)






  • Comment by Suburbanbanshee — March 15, 2014 @ 12:14 pm


    But if SXSW is held every year, why aren’t people stringing up stakes and cord around the garden strip, to let people know that it’s not a walking area? I grant you that this isn’t the best way to figure out that’s what should have been done, but now they’ll know for next year, right?

  • Comment by elizabeth — March 15, 2014 @ 3:09 pm


    SXSW is held every year, but the garden strip is only a year, maybe year and a half old, and there’s a new head of the guild this year, who wanted more things planted in it. When you put a very go-getter man in charge of something, things do get done, but there’s often a level of “ownership” that comes to the fore. A barrier is being discussed for next year.

  • Comment by mette — March 15, 2014 @ 5:23 pm


    One of the things I really like about this blog of yours, is the general friendliness of everyone. It is really rare that a discussion is developing along those lines, and I love that about this place.
    Unfortunately I’ve also noticed this tendency to be really rude to other people in online discussions, and I think it’s great that you just gently put a small sign in the flowerbed.

    And so happy your son is ok. My kids are still small, but I sometimes have nightmares about awful stuff happening to them.can’t imagine what went through your head when the phone rang.

    All the best to both you and your son (and your husband too, while I’m at it :-D)

  • Comment by Gareth — March 20, 2014 @ 7:22 am


    Thanks for the reminder – you are the Marshal General and you are entitled to knock heads together when necessary (of course as a marshal you can heal them afterwards as well).

    I’d like to thank all the contributors – this is a small community spread over several continents. Shows what’s possible… Now where’s my high horse so I can preach that somewhere 🙂


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