That being the problem of emails from psychos appearing in your Inbox, wholly unsolicited.
Yesterday evening, returning from a pleasant afternoon in the pub (lest it be thought I’m an alcoholic, what little social life I have happens in the afternoons, as I’m fit for nothing by the evening – a common problem with ME/CFS), I found a rabid email frothing all over my Inbox. Well, actually, all over Mailwasher, where my mail gets filtered. This fruitcake was ranting about how people like me, always running down this country (what?), made him angry. My response was, I’m afraid, a little intemperate (but hey, you invade my personal space with unhinged emails at your peril), and Mailwasher is set to bounce any further mail from the lunatic.
Anyway, for openers, there’s not a single post here denigrating this country (that’s the UK, by the way), on my blog. Certain aspects of life here have been commented upon, as is my right as a citizen of this country – it’s called free speech, something this guy’s never heard of, apparently. And I’ve actually written in defence of my country, denigrating those who would run it down and do it harm. I do not, though, subscribe to the premise of “my country, right or wrong”. That’s the sort of attitude that leads to bigotry and war, not to mention emails of questionable sanity). And one of the freedoms our forebears fought and died for was the right of this country’s citizens to criticise it without fear of retribution. (A right abused by some groups, but it’s still their right.)
What set him off then? I’ve no idea. There was nothing in the posts viewed that day that would trigger an angry response in any normal, sane, person, so I seem to have netted myself a genuine dingbat – he’s probably a Daily Mail reader!
Blogging has rules – don’t libel anyone and don’t breach copyright being the cardinal ones – and, personally, I try not to be gratuitously offensive, unless people are gratuitously offensive to me. Other than that, pretty much anything goes, as a look around the blogosphere will show.
You should not, though – unless a post invites you to do so in the context of that post – email the blogger directly (unless, of course, you’re personally acquainted). It’s a gross invasion of privacy (if you read a newspaper, you wouldn’t dream of contacting the journalists at home, would you?), use Comments. And, of course, if you have something to say as deranged as the guy yesterday, and it’s posted in Comments, the world can see what a pillock you are, and I can publicly mock you. Everyone wins.
The bottom line, though, is that blogging is primarily about free speech, within the above rules, and that means there’ll always be someone who doesn’t like what’s being said. That’s too bad – you can’t please all the people all the time, nor should you even try. If you like what a blogger’s saying, then it’s good to say so (every blogger likes positive feedback). It’s also OK to disagree, politely. In both cases, that’s what the Comments section is for. What’s not acceptable is emailing a seriously deranged rant which is dangerously close to hate mail, and which you don’t have the balls to say face to face.
And that brings me to my final rule of blogging (and of email) – I call it the Smack in the Mouth Test. I try never to say anything in a blog, or in email which, said in person, would earn me a justifiable smack in the mouth. It would be a better world if more people did the same.
I do have to wonder, though, what sort of flaky mind-set it takes to be moved to incandescent anger by a mere blog post. I’ve been depressed, amused, frustrated, baffled, entertained and informed by other blogs, but I can honestly say I’ve never been angry. As I said earlier, if you don’t like what I have to say, that’s fine, you don’t have to. Just go away. If you continue to read after deciding you don’t like it, then any ensuing anger is entirely your own fault. Don’t bitch to me about it.