Monday, August 17, 2015

Commenting on Comments

Some of you will have noticed that this blog has been receiving a number of comments recently asking me to write about a particular topic. Those comments have a vaguely threatening tone and the writer seems purposely unwilling to recognize that "Rolling Around in My Head" is a personal blog. Demands are being made for me to write about issues that, while it might be different some day, have not arisen in such a way that makes the topic relevant to a personal blog.

I am very careful with moderating this blog. I started it because someone made serious threats towards me and said that they were going to dominate my blog through comments. I turned on moderation and the attack never happened. I left it on because I was able to filter out a lot of spam which, I think, makes reading the comments a much more pleasant task.

Even so I have very seldomly ever refused a comment, even those wishing to hijack the conversation and force me to write material I had no intention of writing. I recieved two comments in the past few days that I couldn't figure out of they were spam or they were actual comments. They involved telling me that someone had claimed I was involved in some kind of devious attack on them, that I was coordinating it, even though the acknowledge I'd only spoken to them once. I read the name, didn't recognize it at all, and after much mulling I deleted them. They have not reappeared.

As a result of all this though, I've decided that I need to update my comment policy. It now reads:

Thank you for your comment. Disagreement with the blog post and heated debate about issues raised are welcome. However, comments which personally attack or bully another or comments which are not relevant to the blog post or the blog theme may be removed.

There have been many, very many, times when readers have written to say essentially, "I know this isn't about your post today but I wondered if you'd seen or heard about ..." Then they'd share something related to disability or disability awareness. Those, of course, are still welcome because they reflect the overall theme of the blog.

I don't like becoming stricter about the comment section, but I know that the comments have been upsetting to a number of readers, I want to acknowledge their concerns, and, frankly, the comments have been disturbing for me to read as well.

So please note the new comment policy. It goes into effect immediately.


Anonymous said...

Don't sweat the small stuff, David. False allegations have been in the press and sometimes people turn to experts for their take on current issues.

Maybe just update your blog to establish ground rules so people don't make expectations. Expectations are resentments in the womb.

If the right people know you don't talk about false allegations, they will understand.

Anonymous said...

Did you just tell your pals you've been accused of coordinating team stalking, and drop in a clue to the person's identity? So your pals have a better guess?

You rock!!

Anonymous said...

Where's the clue?

Anonymous said...

You have to be "in the know" with is pals to spot it.

No biggie.

Anonymous said...

Dave, I am sending this anonymously because I don't want to be involved, but you may have an obligation to report in a situation like the one you described. Someone appears to be claiming some sort of mistreatment, and in your professional position you have an obligation to report.

I'm quite sure you're not under immediate suspicion, I know you. But you might want to consult a lawyer.

You just made a public blog statement that your response to a report of abuse was to mull it over and delete it because you don't know the person.

The person may actually be in trouble. I think you should run this by a lawyer. If the person has a disability, that window of opportunity to report is only 24 hours. I'd hate to see how this plays out if the person has a legitimate claim.

CapriUni said...

Making a comment here so I can read your new, refined, policy. Looks good to me.

I've been writing on online fora and Usenet groups for over twenty years, now (That's like, what... a century in Internet Years?). And throughout that time, deliberately trying to derail, distract from, or ignore the topic under discussion have all been classified as "Trolling" just as much as blatant bullying.

So this new policy is perfectly in keeping with maintaining this blog as a Safe Space.

ABEhrhardt said...

There has been an odd tone in the comments lately, as you've bent over backward with a particular anonymous commenter (assuming it's just one).

You do NOT need to feel uncomfortable on your own blog.

I think there are better places for that commenter, and wonder why he/she picked your blog - possibly because you were nice.

Funny how some people do this. In all the time I've been reading your blog, learning from you, and listening to the commenters, this is the first time I'VE felt uncomfortable.

I think you need to make your blog safe for YOU, first.

I repeat: there are other venues, ones that are already competent at those topics.


Anonymous said...

As an expert on abuse I think Anonymous raises a good question. Why not just report that some person turned to you in despair, but you don't know who is making the attacks... I thought you indicated every abuse claim has to be believed.

What's the harm in passing it on to the authorities?

Suspicion of abuse claims must be reported and dealt with by police. What was in the email?

Dave Hingsburger said...

The email, which I deleted, stated that they had already contacted both a lawyer and the police and were suggesting that I get a lawyer to protect myself. As the police were already supposedly involved I felt that, should they be in danger, the right action had been taken. As I said, I didn't know the person, didn't know how to get in touch with the person, and certainly had nothing to do with anything happening to the person that the comment was suspect. In reading the comment several times I couldn't tell if it was spam or not. I opted for the idea that it was spam, it certainly had nothing to do with the blog or blog comments.

To be clear, again, it wasn't an email, it was a comment.

Antonia Lederhos Chandler said...

I'd appreciate it if "Anonymous Said" would stop fogging this blog with his or her repetitive comments. I don't like the tone of these comments. It feels like, instead of speaking from personal experience on the subject of the blog, they are giving personal advice and criticism.

Jeannette said...

I had not seen those comments, but in reading what you had to say about them, my first reaction was that they were a form of bullying, or an attempt at manipulation, which I think falls under the same emotional umbrella as bullying.
I think you're right to follow your impulse.
And -- once again -- thank you for having this blog. Yes, it's personal. That's maybe one reason why so many of us are personally moved by it. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

It's your blog, Dave. You can and should post what you want, and tolerate comments as you want.

Anyone who seeks a reaction from you should give a better idea what they are talking about, and ask with their name, not anonymously. And it's STILL your prerogative to answer or not.

Sharon (who does post via Anoymous, but I give my name)

Anonymous said...

I've written anonymously for some time, and have noted another commenter with "a tone", and to be honest I have been a bit worried. One, that the blog has changed. Two, that someone was hassling you. I never noticed such comments before your break. I had thought that someone you met in your month off had "joined in" but I wondered. Manipulation is right on. I'm sorry you have to work so hard to present your personal blog. Thanks for not being discouraged. Thanks for embracing challenges (on the topic) and making so many of us think in a different way. Thanks for taking steps to protect all of us.

Anonymous said...

People need to watch what they say and how they say it. Thank you for addressing this. It needed to be addressed.