Monday, January 21, 2008

Thanks for the Private Harassment!

I just permanently deleted evidence of a rude comment that a person left for the previous post and then himself/herself deleted. So in other words, I got the benefit of seeing it because all the comments here are forwarded to my email, but none of you did. All that was left in the comment thread was "this post has been deleted by the author." It annoys me when those are left to clutter up a comment thread, so I deleted it permanently.

I write about this for a variety of reasons. One, because I really do not understand what the benefit of such harassment is for the harasser. Two, because it's this sort of thing that makes it impossible to have honest conversations about ambition in this profession. I'm a pretty stubborn person, and as much as this sort of shit gets to me, it doesn't stop me from writing, although it has quieted me down for brief periods in the past (just check out how infrequently I blogged and with what little substance after the whole Unicorn Gumdrop Kerfuffle). But imagine if I weren't that stubborn? I suspect one reason a lot of these conversations don't happen is because people don't want to deal with this sort of shit that comes out of the woodwork, and I don't blame them. I don't want to deal with this shit either. So I've noticed there are a number of new commenters to the blog lately, and I figured that this was a good time to just put it out there that while I don't expect everybody to support me when I post about something or to agree with everything I say, I do expect that people contribute to the conversation and that they don't treat me like crap. And I'd say that's not too much to ask.


BrightStar (B*) said...

Oh, ick... I didn't see the comment, but I hate comments like that. As you said, disagreement is not the issue... as I see it, it's the flaming and the lack of effort to be sympathetic that is the problem.

For what it's worth, I didn't comment because I wasn't sure what to say, but I really appreciated your previous post. It generated thoughts for me about my own life. I respect how reflective you've been throughout your discernment process related to your job. There are no easy answers to choosing our paths.

Margaret said...

I guess I am having trouble seeing how anyone could object to anything in the previous post. What a weirdo.

Of course, then again, I was utterly blindsided by some of the positions taken in the Great Gumdrop Kerfluffle of 2007. Seriously: I had no idea some people could be *that* crazy. And not in a good, Dr. Crazy kind of way.

helenesch said...

I have to say, I've been reading a new "Feminist Philosophers Blog" (that's my area), and I really like what the bloggers have to say--about a lot of things. But quite frequently there will be comments are quite hostile to feminism and that question the possibility that there is widespread sexism in philosophy or academia.

And it's blogs like yours--and the handful of other ones I read by female academics--that serve as a sharp contrast, and that make me realize what a silencing effect such comments can have (over at that other blog). These hostile comments both prevent others from speaking up honestly (who wants to be attacked?) and they call attention to the commenter/troll and end up focusing the conversation on him, not on the concerns raised.

All this is to say that I'm happy that you delete such comments! And that I really value the conversations that your posts elicit.

Merely Academic said...

And of course you don't want to just cut and paste the rude comment into a post, with the writer identified, because that would draw the focus of the conversation to the troll, precisely what you don't want. Is there a way of blocking comments from certain people on blogger?

The History Enthusiast said...

I personally appreciated your last post, so keep at it! Don't let "the man" get you down!

Michael Faris said...

Sorry to hear about the harassment. I don't get it much on my blog, but on the rare occasions that I do, I leave it up, because I think it reflects on whoever wrote it more than it reflects on me (unless it's particularly childish or demeaning to others; then it gets deleted).

Thanks for blogging and keeping at it; I've enjoyed a lot of what you've written. Like other commenters, I don't see what in your previous post would incite flaming.

You do ask a good question: what are the benefits of such harassment? Long-term wise and relationship-wise, few to none.

Dr. Crazy said...

That's the thing: I don't think anybody could have seen the comment. I think the author deleted it immediately so that I would be the only one who would see it. That's the thing that strikes me as particularly unproductive and mean-spirited, actually.

There is a way to block IP addresses: the problem with doing that with this person is that it could have been one of two people, according to the statcounter. I wouldn't want to punish somebody wrongly for what is ultimately not really that big a deal. It just upset me in the moment.

Michael, I get your point about leaving the comments of trolls up, but what I've seen in the past is that doing so has the potential to blow things way out of proportion. Also, I have a real problem with taking crap on the blog (which is, of course, nobody's fault but mine, but I have a real problem with just letting certain kinds of comments lie without responding).

Miranda said...

I, for one, am glad that you continue to write honestly about your job, your ambitions, your students and your research. There is nothing about your writing that should be attracting vitriol, in my opinion.

About just letting comments lie, if one can't adjust the discourse on one's own blog to cover the topics one chooses to cover, I'm not sure what the point of having one's own online space.

Anonymous said...

you know, I don't think I see how that post could possibly be objectionable. but if the gumdrop unicorn kerfluffle taught us anything it is what maggie said: people are crazy. in a bad way.

i totally feel you...i don't take crap on the blog very well, either. even moderating commends doesn't really appeal to me because I still have to see them.

New Kid on the Hallway said...

I'd presume the commenter came over here from the recent RYS link, given their role in the Great Gumdrop Kerfuffle.

And I don't understand what they get out of it, either. It's funny because one of the things I've learned from blogging is: you can't control how [crazy] people read what you write. I had a rather distressing example of this lately. It's sad because it's the antithesis of one of my writing mantras: if your reader doesn't get what you're saying, it's your responsibility to make your writing so clear that they can't possibly mistake your meaning. I like to believe that, but I've given up on it applying to the internet. I work hard to make my point clear; but if someone decides to get their nose out of joint and misread me, then there's nothing I can do about.

Still a huge PITA, though. And the people who get upset about these discussions of ambition (because we're such disloyal, selfish, evil jr. faculty!!) really chap my hide.

OkayAwesome said...

Hey, I am newish to your blog and new to commenting. I am sorry someone was being mean to you. Blogging my frustrations away and reading other people's blogs has been my saving grace since getting this job. When I feel alone or stressed about an academic issue--some anonymous blogger has been able to make me feel better. Definitely don't let 'em get you down.

PS. I don't know your blogging surrounding the gumdrop incident (I think you mean the post on RYS knocking younger faculty on applying elsewhere), but I too was upset about my wanting something more for me being interpreted as being selfish.

Andrea said...

Well now I feel better about the fact that no one comments on my blog! :)

I enjoyed your last post and it gave me food for thought. As my Dad always says, "Illegitimi non carborundum."