We are not alone

I always get this huge kick out of when I meet other bloggers and I say “Hi, I know you from your blog” and they say “No, no…you’re just saying that” and I say “Dude, you were knitting those blue socks and your dog took the yarn and you found it in the kitchen” and they say “WOW, you did read my blog” and then I remind them that this is a community. That the whole point of the thing is a community. Knitters blog and comment and take part to form a community and I am a knitter who blogs and comments just like all the other knitters and it is truly no more remarkable that I do it, than that any of you do. Sure I’m busy. I bet you are too. Sure it takes time to read the blogs, but you do it, and there’s just no way that most of you have way more time than me. We all have lives and jobs and families and friends and knitting and ….

I’m losing track of my point. My point is (and I do have one, no matter how long it takes me to get there) that we are all right here, in the community, reading the blogs together, seeing the stuff you do…reading the stuff you write.

“Stephanie” I can hear you saying “We know that”. True, most of you do, but lately, I see people sometimes writing on their blogs, or in the comments of other blogs, like they think they are in private.

Blogs are not private. Sure, I hear “It’s my blog and I’ll say what I want” and “If you don’t like what I write, don’t read” and sure enough, you can, and you will, and you’ve got a fine point, but it is this bloggers humble opinion that having a blog is like throwing an open-house party for your neighbourhood and saying that anyone who wants to can come.

I’ve been to a fair number of neighbourhood parties, and I bet you have too, and I have never once, not ever, not even a little bit, ever seen the host get up with a microphone and tell the rest of the party what they thought of one or two of the guests. Can you imagine? You’re over at Jane’s for a neighbourhood thing and Jane stands up at the head of the room and says “Excuse me? Yes. Thanks so much for coming, I’m so glad you’re here. Now that I have your attention, I’d like to point Susan out to you, that’s her – in the back in the red shirt. I just want to tell you, I don’t like her. I think she’s ugly, tremendously damned stupid, and that she’s a terrible mother and can’t knit her fool way out of a washcloth. Also, this is my house and I’ll say what I want. Comments?”

Never going to happen…Right? There are a few types that we all love to hate who are going to say that sort of stuff at a party where Susan isn’t invited, trash her behind her back and have a good time doing it, but there are very few of us who would do it to her face, in front of everyone she knows….and if any of us did do it we would certainly not wonder why we didn’t have any friends any more. There’s simply very few human beings (and thank the fates for that) who would lie in bed after trashing Susan over the microphone and watching her burst into tears and flee the party, and in the dark truth of midnight say to themselves. “I’m not mean, I’m honest” or “Well, I have a right to share my opinion” or “If Susan doesn’t want to hear things like that, she shouldn’t come to the parties I invite her to.”

Yet, even though blogs are PUBLIC, and even though most bloggers are hoping to get more of the community to stop by and read at our blog parties, the scenario happens all the time. I’ve noticed, more and more often, people writing about other people like they aren’t going to see it. People, people who would never, ever say it to you if you were in their living room, or if they knew you would read it, writing away like they are in private, even LINKING to the person they are saying the hurtful things about, with no regard for the fact that the odds are pretty damned excellent that the person they are writing about is going to read it sooner or later.

Now these people may just have forgotten that you don’t choose who reads your blog, or maybe they would argue that they aren’t part of the community (even though they are in a whole bunch of knitting blog rings, or leave comments on other blogs) , and some of them may perhaps be confused about the difference between vicious invective and considered criticism (Hint: “Her grammar is poor” is criticism, but “She looks like a weasel” is vicious invective.)

Stunningly though, most of the people writing this stuff aren’t like that. Most of the people writing this stuff would never, ever say it to the face of the person they were talking about if they were in the same room with them, most of them, if they knew the other person was reading, would be downright ashamed of themselves. (Note my acceptance of the existence of a few people who are simply downright mean or troubled, and know that I don’t expect them to be reasonable, nor I am naive enough to believe that everyone should think that we are all able to play nice or get along) If – for it is only “if”, since we all tend to look the other way during these things, the writer is called on their behavior, then they invariably claim loudly that they have a right to their opinion, that it is their space and they can do what they like, or suggest (with increasing ire) that if you are going to get your feelings hurt about something as unimportant as what people say about you in rooms full of thousands of other people, then maybe you shouldn’t read blogs….


They are right. You do have a right to write anything you want on your blog or when you write comments. You have a right to any opinion you want to hold, and you can scream it into a microphone as loudly as you want at any party you want. My point is, and it’s the only one that I have…is that when you write this stuff, you are not in private. You are in public, and WE CAN ALL HEAR YOU.

562 thoughts on “We are not alone

    It saddens me when people are just mean to mean. . . Anywhere, but even more in our little world!
    It was great to see knitters trusting each other enough in Petaluma to just leave our knitting bags on our chairs WITH THE KNITTING IN THEM and head off to dinner! I don’t think that happens often. My mom and I thought about not leaving our bags . . . our gut told us no . . . but figured what will happen . . . there are knitters to protect us . . . and they did!
    We should use that same protective nature online as well. Don’t say things you wouldn’t say to a face, or that you wouldn’t want said to yours.

  2. Very well stated. Criticism with class — you are a rare one, indeed.
    Keep up the good work and keep us on our toes.

  3. I just remember my mom telling me if you don’t have anythign nice to say, just shut up.
    I hope I say nice things, but I’m not always sure.
    I think we all need to be reminded of this sometimes…

  4. Amen.
    You know what I do with people’s blogs I don’t care for? I take them off my feed reader. Easy as pie. And? Polite.

  5. Absolutely correct! When I post on my blog http://real-lawyer.livejournal.com/ I try to stay aware that anyone can read what I wrote and make sure I get my point across in a way that is not harmful. Or change the names of the not-so-innocent!
    I have just read all your books back to back and enjoyed each and every one.

  6. Way to go Stephanie. You are way to young to remember the old Art Linkletter show, “People are Funny”, but I have noticed as I have gotten old (I mean older) that he was wrong. Basically in many cases people are’t funny, they are no damn good. Hope the perps see your post and at least realize that they are the guilty party.

  7. My personal rule of writing on my blog is this: if I won’t say it to their face, I won’t write it at all. The end. The internet is tiny and everything you write will be found, eventually.

  8. I’m very grateful right now that I have no idea what you are talking about. Being reflective in our blogs is ok, but hurtful……never. Apparently, I do not read the blog or blogs you are discussing and I’m very sorry you even need to address the issue (again).

  9. I agree. When people get in front of a monitor and a keyboard they seem to think they are invisible. Not only are they not invisible, but what they write – whether on a blog or a site like myspace or facebook – it is out there in cyberspace forever and can not only hurt others, but come back later to haunt them.

  10. Well said. I am continually amazed by the things people will say on their blogs, as if they think that putting it online makes them somehow immune, or that the person they’re writing about won’t ever find it.
    I have always tried to subscribe to the philosophy that I will not write anything about someone I wouldn’t be comfortable saying to their face. It’s a good, easy philosophy to use, and if I’m not sure about whether or not I should say something online, well that right there is a good indication that I probably rethink what I’m typing.

  11. you are so right. a couple years ago, there was a woman a whose blog i greatly admired and lurked on. one day as i was just cruising through some of her archives i was flabbergasted to come across a post of hers linking to pictures of my art studio and her stating that that must be what hell looked like – because of the multitude of supplies, books, and just general stuff that artists seem to collect. you can imagine what that felt like.
    she didn’t know me, never thought that i would ever read it, but the internet is not as big as we think.
    and i come across mentions of her blog often in the blog circles i read and can’t help but flinch. and no matter what good thing/idea someone says they saw over on so-and-so’s blog i can’t bring myself to go look.

  12. Hear Hear! Very well stated. I think that people tend to feel like they/we are in a bubble – that they are somehow anonymous in their blog. Simple fact is that they/we aren’t. And they/we need to remember to be civil and polite both IRL and on the web.

  13. I agree.
    My experience with the knitting community/blogland in general is the kindness, inspiriation, caring, sharing. These are all things I hold in high regard in life.
    I just don’t understand the intentional jabs on blog entries or comments. Why?
    The world is not always the kindest, fairest place but when someone makes a comment or creates a link that criticizes or hurts someone’s feelings, that is an intentional act.
    Yes, its about choice and sadly some folks makes choices that colors their own life in a negative way. You can either be a positive influence or a negative one.

  14. Stephanie, you always find the right words. Thank you for reminding us to be a little more careful
    witth each other.
    Love your books and your blog!!

  15. I have to agree with CindyCindy, “I’m very grateful right now that I have no idea what you are talking about.” It doesn’t surprise me that people would do such things, but I haven’t run across it, at least recently.
    Still, thank you for the nicely written rebuttal to such foolishness. A little civility goes such a long way out here in the blogisphere.

  16. Well said! I think this is like the people who cut you off on the highway… they don’t have to look you in the eye or ever meet you on the street (at least, not where you would know who they are), so they feel free to do mean things that they would never do normally. Blogging also has that kind of impersonal quality.
    Also there’s a lot more “mean is cute/funny” media out there (the post-Oscar fashion review sort of thing) than there used to be, and people do tend to imitate the bad behaviour they see on TV.
    As someone trying to raise a thoughtful and responsible child, I wish there were more models of good behaviour. I don’t envision a world without criticism, just one where criticism is constructive, thoughtful, and within the bounds of polite behaviour. Think before you speak.

  17. Hear, hear! Fortunately, when we run into it – gack – we can, at least, stay away from that blog. Or ban ’em from commenting, if they’re the sort who like picking fights and choose you as an opponent. But man, that sort of thing sure gets old. It’s like trolls on newsgroups. The best way to fight back is ignore them totally.

  18. Seriously. Who does that? I would never keep reading a blogger who was trashing another blogger’s stuff. While there’s plenty of Ugly out there but there’s way too much Pretty to talk about. Maybe those types of bloggers don’t think they have readers? Dunno.
    Well put, lady. 🙂

  19. I have a blog myself, a political one, and what you describe is what I refer to as the “anonymity of the internet”. People forget that there is a live person behind every name and that people have feelings.
    Excellent points, Steph.

  20. Thank you; this is something I have noticed lately and it makes me so sad. Some of the perps seem to think their mean behavior proves they are better than the hoi polloi but it just makes you wonder what their innner life is like to make them need the gratuitous hatefulness.

  21. Thank you, Stephanie. (And I’m wincing at whatever you must have read to have induced this post, and glad I didn’t see it.) One of the things I so often find myself thinking, is, we’re all in this life stuff together. Thank you for being one of the people who helps us all keep things together and in perspective.

  22. You are so right, of course, and folks also need to remember that even if your blog is not listed publicly, not on a blogring, or whatever, people other than the chosen few you’ve invited will inevitably find that blog, as well. I started my knitting blog so I could have one that is listed publicly, where I can keep up a public, yet friendly face. And I have a personal blog I will let friends read…but I know those people can pass the URL on to others, or I could include it in my .sig to the wrong person (like my ex-spouse!), so it behooves me to be nice, not mention people or institutions by name (like my former employer, where I know there is a frequent reader, probably ready to pounce on me if I mention the name of the place).
    I like having opinions, and reading the opinions of others. But, if someone offends me, I do like the previous person said and “vote with my fingers.” I stop reading their blog.
    Still what the heck’s wrong with saying what you think politely?

  23. Wow. It’s sad that this even need to be addressed. I agree with Dixie about the invisibility factor. The same thing happens sometimes when people are in their car. I see people cut in front of others, in short, being very rude, and I think, “If you were waiting in a line at the grocery store or the bank, would you do that?” People tend to think that their car or their blog will protect their identity, but I think that what goes around comes around, and eventually meanness will catch up.

  24. You see your readers in spades, usually without enough chairs but the normal blogger can’t see that there are people out there. I know that I have readers but I assume that I know them all (although I did have a scary blog moment where I dreamed that Microsoft would be sending round the MIB for copyright infringement on something I knitted.) As this is the second time this week I’ve seen a post on this subject I suspect that I’ve missed out on a Big Thing and do you know, I’m glad. I prefer to live in a world where everybody gets along and there is enough yarn and needles for everyone.

  25. Peoples attitudes can be appalling, or quite the opposite. The person who was most cruel on my blog was my brother (actually it was his wife). I deleted them and blocked them. A blog is such a public forum and I think that tends to be forgotten. Everyone needs to play nice.

  26. Once again I am impressed with your thoughtfulness, class, and sense of community. I hope that the event that inspired this was not too hurtful at the time, and that you have been able to let it go. You are a tremendous knitting inspiration to so many of us–and your wonderful writing is a great bonus…

  27. So eloquent. See, this is why we (well I – suppose I should only speak for myself) admire you so much. You say what needs to be said in the most open and kind manner.
    I wish it weren’t necessary to deliver this particular message, but I’m glad that you’re here to do it.

  28. For once, I am grateful that I am out of it. I have no idea what’s going on, and apparently this time it’s better that way. As someone with a bit of a big mouth who occassionaly opens it before engaging her brain (and regrets it terribly immediately thereafter), I must say that this post is well put and would certainly make me think twice. I wish you ran the world!

  29. WOW!! Well said! That was great. I hope everyone reads it and learns the lesson…
    Do you have another book coming out? I’ve read them all and now find myself kind of addicted and waiting for the next “fix” – lol.

  30. I had a similar post on my blog recently re: it’s my blog, yadda yadda yadda. But my reasons were different. I wasn’t talking about anyone, I simply posted a video and did not wish to be drawn into heated and somewhat ugly debate because of it. I responded to thoughtful comments and ignored those who were just trying to start a flame war. I don’t like drama in my blog and I’m very tired of people who create it where there is none and that was my reason for posting that. I would never make an openly hostile post. There is a feature on LJ that makes it possible to lock posts to a totally private, only-I-can-read-it setting or to a select group of journals I have “friended” or what have you that I sometimes use in order to vent, but I think that sometimes the internet just gets into people’s heads and leaves them devoid of all tact and good sense sometimes. I’ve seen people who don’t seem to be happy unless they’ve made themselves the victim of imagined malignancies perpetrated against them or others who feel free to curse the world at large for no good reason. It’s sad that people leave the sense they have in ordinary face-to-face relationships somewhere away from their keyboards and traipse into cyberspace with no more tact than God gave a poo-flinging monkey. I appreciate your post and I agree wholeheartedly, but I also posit there are non-malicious reasons to use a caveat post like you mentioned.

  31. Amen, sista! Wait… Does that include bitching about your husband? (In a humorous, loving way of course…) 🙂 I think it’s a good idea to think twice before posting something that may hurt someone else’s feelings. You never know who could be “lurking” out there.

  32. I sort of liken this to driving. People who drive aggressively or with road rage would probably not act like that when dealing with someone face-to-face.
    It is sad that we feel free to let our bad sides show during situations where our interaction *seems* impersonal.

  33. I agree whole heartedly.
    Another thing to consider is that future employers may Google your name to see what kind of a person you are. Writing a blog is like writing your own reference. My blog is linked at my work place to a feed. Anyone at work can read it, and I know one or two people are regulars. This keeps me on the straight and narrow.

  34. When I first started blogging I put myself out there, in ways that I shouldn’t have. I was entirely personal and private about my posts (not knitting related) and then was pissed when people whom I didn’t know had really nasty comments. I realized that…duh I opened myself up for it. However, since that learning experience, I have gained a much thicker skin, and am not as easily offended, but have realized that there are these poor souls that are just generally nasty.
    To those people, I just believe that karma is a bitch!

  35. What a great post – especially coming from someone as respected in the community as you are. I’ve been so lucky to meet as many wonderful folks as I have through my blogs, and even so, your post made me stop to think – gee, have I ever said something mean about someone? I think it’s a great reminder for everyone – and given what I know I’ve read in a few places, some more than others. Sadly, the folks who are truly mean won’t change regardless of who pokes them about it.

  36. The words that you say should pass three tests: they should be true, they should be necessary, and they should be kind. If they fail to pass these criteria, then they should remain unspoken (or unwritten, as the case may be).
    Thanks for the reminder.

  37. Well said Stephanie.
    Someone in my husband’s company recently got fired for nasty blogging about her assistant. Even though no names were mentioned at any time and it was written in her own time, it was still easy to identify the company and people involved.

  38. This so needed to be said. People do forget that their blogs are not their private diaries! I could tell you a few stories from personal experience!

  39. Well said, Stephanie!
    Your blog is one of the few I´m following regulary. The reason? Comments like this!
    Greetings from Germany

  40. I know this discussion has been coming up off and on lately, and I think it is important to keep it coming. It is one of the ‘dangers’ of the virtual world that people feel anonymous and it makes them bold, often in a bad way. Sadly I see that as well when I travel around, fortunately none of that has happened to me yet. (I suppose not enough people read my blog… )
    I personally love to visit other peoples worlds, their ideas, their projects and comments. There is so much to learn out there, to laugh about and to admire, and I too do vote by not returning to places that feel bad. I hope that we can continue to just enjoy this community and that the bad things remain in the minority, and that people being hurt can just turn around and ignore the slander.

  41. Thank you, and thank you extra for the way in which you said it.
    My best friend from high school did that to me in her livejournal several years ago. We’d lost touch, and I was googling her to get back in touch, and then all of a sudden there was a page with these catty things about me being said to people I’d never met. Not by name, but I knew who she was talking about, and I wondered, did she think I’d ever see this? Did she say it WANTING me to see it?
    Here’s the shameless plug: I know for a fact that my little blog has no readers, but it would be an honor if you dropped by even once. 🙂 (There are first socks, if not much else so far.) Next time you’re in eastern MA I will come and say hi!

  42. I’m so glad you brought up this topic; wish the problem didn’t exist, but it does and needs to be addressed. As always, you have a wonderful way with words!! Thanks for doing that.

  43. I’ve said it behind your back 🙂 and I’m happy to say it on your blog comments: Stephanie is my hero because she has class and graciousness. Beautifully put.

  44. Well said. Common decency sometimes seems to get lost in the sense of anonymity that blogs afford us. The whole “It’s my blog…” argument really doesn’t hold water very effectively when held up against the standards of respect for everyone in the community. I’m always grateful when people give me something to think about, but questioning or disagreeing can be done respectfully.
    I hope that I can live up to a better blogging standard myself. Thanks for the reminder.

  45. So true. If people were to google their names or their ‘handles’ or their blognames, they would be quite surprised how many people can see what they have to say. Not to mention, it’s a forever thing. The Wayback Machine won’t let you pretend it never happened, or that you were misquoted.

  46. I had to read some of your post twice. Seriously, people have posted things like that?! People need to realize that even with new technology old rules still apply… even to them.
    Maybe these are the same people that pick their nose while at a stoplight/sign. Don’t they know we can see them?

  47. That’s why I blog under a pseudonymn and only have three readers.
    People just amaze me sometimes, with how mean they can be. Then again, they amaze me more often with how kind, funny, and good they can be, thank goodness.

  48. If you’re referring to something specific, then I’m also in the dark and that’s fine.
    One thing you didn’t mention, and I think it’s important even if it doesn’t change the fact that people are mean in public sometimes and don’t realize that everyone can see them (Emperor’s New Clothes and all that sort of transparency) is that we only see about 5%, if that, of a person’s life in their blog. You could go and read mine and its dearth of knitting content (oh the shame), but I don’t think that you’d really get to know me very well. Sometimes we read things differently than they’re actually meant or said.
    I’m not excusing outright meanness, or the person who said that someone linked to their shop and said, “This must be what hell looks like,” because that’s blatant. Just that sometimes there are things that we misinterpret because we don’t know from whence they come.
    All the same, meanness is such a pain in the ass. It interrupts the flow of a narrative and often makes us uncomfortable, so we step away. Or we enter the fray and then find ourselves saying things we don’t intend, entering a world we didn’t want to enter.
    We should all take care.

  49. Well! That was refreshing! Truth can be that way. I just miss seeing some lovely yarn being knitted into whatever. I’ll go to an old post to get a fix.

  50. There is a cheesy email that goes around that says you should picture your life as a theater – and some people belong in the front row, and others belong in the baloney (and in my mind, I added – some should not even be allowed in). If someone is nasty enough to say something bad about me (or a friend) on a blog – I do as others seem to do – just choose to not read their blogs. I don’t need to waste my precious time and emotional energy on unhappy and mean people.
    : )

  51. That needed to be said. Thank you for your usual standard of grace and eloquence.

  52. There is a cheesy email that goes around that says you should picture your life as a theater – and some people belong in the front row, and others belong in the baloney (and in my mind, I added – some should not even be allowed in). If someone is nasty enough to say something bad about me (or a friend) on a blog – I do as others seem to do – just choose to not read their blogs. I don’t need to waste my precious time and emotional energy on unhappy and mean people.
    : )

  53. I always defer to Thumper’s mom’s advise…
    “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say nothing at all.”
    I always read and re-read (and revise and revise) what I write before I “push the button” so that I do not inadvertently offend anyone.

  54. hear hear!
    people can be really obnoxious! (frantically checking my blog to make sure it isn’t me…) it just seems like a waste of space to act like that…

  55. I totally agree. I was poking around the other day and ran across exactly what you are addressing here today. Someone posting about “how terrible a pattern was and that they’d rather gouge their eyes out than knit from it” type thing (I’m paraphrasing). I remember thinking how rude it was, and just surfed on by. But if the designer were to see that? *sigh* That would be fairly hurtful.
    Stephanie, you have a gift, both with words and needles. Thanks for sharing your gift with us.

  56. Well written, Stephanie. I like what Julie said, too, about “true, necessary, kind”. I really try hard to avoid being mean in my speech as well as my writing, and I tend not to continue reading blogs where meanness is considered okay and/or funny.
    How on earth can we raise our kids to be kind if we are not kind ourselves?

  57. Amen!
    And, because I am a worrier – I know you hear me – I read this thinking, “Is that me?? Did I write something, is she talking about me??” Because I am the only knitblogger in the whole wide world, and therefore it must be me. 😛 (I’m pretty danged certain it’s not me.)
    (I only write loud posts about my OWN poor behavior, like stalking poor Stephanie Pearl-McPhee.)

  58. Well said. I completely agree. People forget the internet is not anonymous, email isn’t even anonymous much of the time.
    And its not just possible employers that may
    Google you. At some US/Canada Border crossings, people crossing the border have been Googled, and in at least one occasion, it has prevented a respectable individual from getting in to the US.

  59. How funny you should post about this. Some friends and I were just having a conversation about this last night and a thoughtful, well-written, reasonable response was much-ly needed.
    ‘Preciate it.

  60. You know, I was going to say, “wow, I’m reading the wrong blogs, since I’ve totally missed this little brouhaha” but then I realized I am totally reading the RIGHT blogs. I actually have dumped a few people from my bloglines for unrelenting negativity, and am much happier for it. Not that I’m Miss Mary Sunshine, but I’m not making fun of other peoples’ cats or whatever either.

  61. Good Point Stephanie, I’m glad to hear you say it. So simple so nice. Sure we can say whatever we like, but really, please, (thank you for reminding us) have some decorum.

  62. Thank you for speaking about this. Let’s hope that the old saying “What goes around comes around” is true.

  63. Good Point Stephanie, I’m glad to hear you say it. So simple so nice. Sure we can say whatever we like, but really, please, (thank you for reminding us) have some decorum.

  64. Well put. I’m sorry you had an experience that made you write this.
    One good way to avoid this, I’ve found, is to tell your mom and your (future) mother-in-law about your blog. I think pretty carefully about what goes out there!

  65. Also, anyone who has enough time and uses a search engine can find your blog. This includes prospective employers, previous employers, co-workers, and old school mates. Or your family. It isn’t just public, it is a broadcast for those who want to tune in, or those who surf past the station. Yes, even if you use a pseudonym… You can be found.

  66. Steph, I have a feeling I know who/what you’re talking about. I used to like reading that blog, got a kick out of it, chuckled once in a while. I don’t know when I noticed that it turned from being witty and observant to mean-spirited, but I noticed it, and I actually passed over clicking on the link, cuz, you know, I wasn’t in the mood. Then one day, it just got to be too much. Deleted her from my list and never looked back. There’s just so much that can be learned from the positive, from the sharing. And life can be too nasty all by itself to actually invite nasty in and have coffee with you. It still rankles a little to know blogs are out there spewing their meanness and calling it opinion (presumeably so they can live with themselves) but I guess that’s their right. Just don’t make me read it.

  67. Happily, in my short time in the knit-blog community, I’ve yet to run across this. Civilization and community are based on certain accepted standards and ways of interacting. There is freedom of speech and there is disrespect of your community standards. I’ve edited a few comments before I hit post when I thought they could be misread.
    I make a point of checking out all of the Google and other such hits on my blog. It does change how I word things and what facts I’ll include, and I’ve been on-line in forums for years.
    Plus, I’ve found Bloglines can find any blog address I’ve pasted in so far. They’re not always timely or good on updating all of them, but no one is invisible.

  68. I have a feeling I’ve missed something, and am glad.
    I’m spending a lot of my time right now coaching my children in “tone of voice” and being respectful and courteous to one another. Sounds to me like some people weren’t listening when their parents gave them the same talks however many years ago.

  69. I have a feeling I’ve missed something, and am glad.
    I’m spending a lot of my time right now coaching my children in “tone of voice” and being respectful and courteous to one another. Sounds to me like some people weren’t listening when their parents gave them the same talks however many years ago.

  70. I can’t even imagine what possesses people. It’s horrible but somewhat understandable when it’s a teenager on some poorly-moderated forum mouthing off, but knitbloggers? We really ARE a community, possibly more than any other on the internet. We meet up in the real world, send each other gifts, and have a phenomenal web of interconnection. It’s the most remarkable thing I’ve ever seen, and I’m so grateful to be part of it…I can’t imagine intentionally poisoning it.
    This whole thing reminds me of one of my favorite Penny Arcade strips (NOT SAFE FOR WORK, due to language) http://www.penny-arcade.com/comic/2004/03/19

  71. I stopped reading a certain blog that has an “open mic” day for just this thing. I thought the questions to discuss invited and even expected nasty and mean comments. And the answer WAS “it’s my blog, I can do what I want. If you don’t like it, don’t read it.” So I stopped.

  72. I’ve been lucky. I’ve only run into this sort of thing once on a blog that I had never read before. And from what I’ve seen, this person doesn’t get much in the way of comments/interaction from other bloggers. I know I don’t go back to it after seeing that one post. Sort of a reap what you sow situation. As in real life, if a person is mean enough they usually end up alone. Good for you for saying what you said, Stephanie. As usual, you’ve said what needed saying and you said it in a good way.

  73. Thank you so very much. My Grandmother always said, “If you have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all”. Seems like pretty practical advice and I can’t understand why that concept has been lost.

  74. Stupid, Snarky People. We hates them. My favorite is when someone said something really crappy (and more of a personal attack then even criticism) to Cara over at January One. When she called them on it, they said they were sorry. I gotta call bullshit there. Isn’t it so much easier to say sorry after then to actually think before you speak?

  75. Another person chiming in to say, I’m so glad to see this post. I try to keep my blog almost entirely knitting content (which I suspect may be sort of boring in the long run, but less potentially damaging – unless I ever have an employer who loathes knitters or something). Even when I run into trouble with something, I try to keep my tone mild (well, except for the Noro sweater… but then, it was the Grenryn/Dibs on Ribs pattern, and that even drove you to mild madness). I did run across one of those nasty knitting blogs a while back, and I just don’t get it. Who needs that kind of negativity in their lives?

  76. Well said and so refreshing to hear someone speak the truth. Awesome of you to stand up for others and say what so many are afraid to say.

  77. I am so happy I have no idea what you are talking about. I have never understood why people have to be so awful to others…
    I only use my blog for knitting or charity related content. If I wanted to keep a diary I, personally, would do it in private. If you can’t say anything nice…
    One of the reasons I was caught off guard when you said you’d read my blog, was that I didn’t figure anything I had to say would interest someone of your knitting and writing caliber. 🙂 It’s an honor! I love reading people’s blogs and seeing what they’re working on. It is so inspirational.

  78. Ayup. Well said.
    I’ve actually found that people leaving comments on an inflammatory post can be worse than people writing the inflammatory post. These folks, too, need to know that their comments are public (and searchable).
    And I should hope that if I ever slip up and say something suitably embarrassing and stupid on my blog, this great community of knitbloggers will sit me down, gently correct me, and take my yarn away from me until I can apologize like a big girl.

  79. And bloggers have to remember that even if they don’t have a lot of regular readers, they can get google traffic if the right keywords turn up.
    I did have a friend get fired because of something she said on her livejournal, in a friends only post, because someone with friends-access (not me!) saw that she was dissing a coworker and superior.
    Anyways, well said. Crap like this will probably continue to happen, but hopefully reading your post will make someone else stop and think.

  80. Bravo. I never understood how people think it’s OK, for example, to flame people on a message board because they have anonimity. I’m sorry but, if you’re not enough of a human to be able to say such things with your real name exposed, you should not say it, rights or no.

  81. Girly Girl – When you’re right, you’re so right. Everytime I read something on a blog about you or me or any other blogger who sticks their f*in head out to write a book or do something daring and different, I like to pull out my favorite quote – which essentially says, “Hey – how bout before you pull out that finger and start pointing, you take a deep look inside.”
    Better yet, everytime I find myself saying something discouraging about someone else – or their book – or whatever… I have to stop myself, cause it’s bitter and nasty and not the kind of person I want to be you know?
    People are going to think what they want and write what they want – it is what it is. Then again, I’m sure somewhere deep inside – they actually wish they were us. Imagine that.
    Hope you’re well – maybe we’ll run into each other soon – best,

  82. Well, I didn’t know what (who) you were talking about when I first read your post, but by the time I got to the end of my blog list, I did. All I have to say is that I’m glad I read yours first, so I didn’t have to lose my faith in humanity. Thanks.

  83. Well said, I blog about my X, the boy, the hanger all people nobody knows… unless they know me… and even then, it’s mild. If I direct people to another blog it’s because there is something admirable or exciting to see there. Something positive.
    There is a new culture of nastiness out there. Some people are proud of being mean. It’s like people want to draw controversy… any publicity is good publicity… I think NOT. If you don’t comment and people are left with their nasty invective whistling in the wind… may be they will get the message.

  84. I totally agree – these things are not private diaries, or person-to-person e-mail – they’re publications, and even if a post comes down later, it’s out there; it’s been webcrawled, and cached, and it’s still able to hurt people years later. A friend going through a messy divorce is blogging it in terms I hope his kids never see; but the likelihood of them finding it years from now is really pretty high, I think…

  85. Having a right… doesn’t make it right.
    Being mean, is well, mean.
    Personal rule- I can gripe about myself on my blog- and make fun of myself… but no one else. ( I am plently of fodder for fun making on my own!)
    Well said. And a good reminder. Looking back at my own comments to make sure what I thought was “funny” (pithy) wasn’t ever mean….
    😉 ts
    ps have now listened to both books completely- tell Joe thnx;) you made a great team on this project! (ummm I’ve been doing a lot of housework….. and knitting.. so you know- I’m not a freak for listening to both books already… you’ve just been the sound-track to my days!)

  86. I have been lucky because the only person who was mean spirited on my blog was a family member. They were blocked and the comment was deleted (we have no contact, sadly, in “real life”). I’ve not run into negative blogs, perhaps because I’m just lucky. In this public forum I would be afraid to say unkind things because it always comes back to bite (besides, I tell my children to be nice and polite therefore the rules should apply to me too)

  87. You’re too right. I, too, wish people would just be more considerate of others. I recently tagged a fellow blogger for that (admitedly dumb) 7 random things meme and s/he posted the most acid reply on his/her blog. I was like “Dude, I READ your blog!” I have no idea why this person didn’t just ignore it, or reply directly to me and say “no thank you”. Sheesh. Thanks for being a kind voice in the wilderness!

  88. It’s been my considered opinion for a while now that as a society, we’ve lost all civility. The absolute worst thing my mother could say to me growing up was either “that was rude” or “you embarrassed me” – I would shrivel up and die right there. But, somehow, we are now free to write what we want, through around that middle finger freely (sadly, a bad habit of mine), run red lights, cut people off, the list is long and varied. Too bad we can’t be, if not courteous, at least civil.

  89. Very well and respectfully stated, thank you. This is in issue I run into on blogs, message boards, and in watching my kids playing online games sometimes. I just recently had this conversation with them – how very much I belive you should not do or say anything online that you would not do or say in person. If you want a false reality, to play act at something, well, there are sites for that and there it should stay. This is a community, and extension of our lives, and should be treated as such. People are people, and deserving of politeness and respect.

  90. I’m fairly confident that whatever provoked you to write this 1) wasn’t anything I wrote 2) wasn’t anything I’ve seen. I hereby resolve that, although I can’t do anything about 2), I’ll do my best to make sure 1) stays true.

  91. It’s really sad that people can be so rude. Weren’t they told “if you can’t say anything nice…”? Another rule I like to keep in mind is “Be careful what you write” – when you write something down, it’s very hard to claim you didn’t say it!

  92. I just did a Google images search for “weasels” and I think they’re rather cute – especially the “ice weasel”.
    I think it’s dreadful to be meany-pants specific about other people on blogs. I’m mean (or complainy) about nameless, faceless customer service or driving experiences, but other than that, my blog? It’s all about ME. Twists, turns, knits & purls, life, death, love, sadness, there’s SO many other things to talk/write about, I say to the jerkballs, LOOK INWARD. Reflect! Find out what’s inside that makes you wanna be a meany-pants!
    I think people get stunned that you read their blog, because you have, like, 1400+ Bloglines subscribers? And a bajillion more readers beyond that. And many of us are lucky to have uh, 21. And one of those is uh, myself. (I like to see my blog updated in Bloglines. Is it narcissism? Or practicality?) But the idea that you’d put a person’s blog into YOUR bloglines, or bookmarks, a published author an’ speaker and knitter an’ everyone like, KNOWS you, well, it seems about as possible as George Clooney keeping up with me via Bloglines. Heh. That would be rather cheeky-monkey nice, too. Makes me wanna bat my eyelashes at just the thought of it. Bat ’em like a cute little ice weasel! (Weasels blink, right?)
    The nicest thing about this post (I swear, I’ll stop in a minute) is that you didn’t tell us WHO. Because devoted readers get a little mob-mentality going when one of their beloved are threatened, and we like to pepper trolls with tomatoes, and brickbats, and wave large torches at them. So you were quite kind to the blogger who didn’t show you the same respect.

  93. I feel a little like the guy in a comedy movie who, after a big brouhaha has occurred, sits up and says “did I miss anything?” But that’s OK. I am completely fine with being clueless here.
    I decided long ago, for email at work, that I wouldn’t write anything that I would not want to see posted above the copier for everyone to read. Similarly, on my blog, I don’t say things that I wouldn’t want someone — anyone — to attribute to me later.
    Your reminder is a good one, though — my words do not go out into a void (although it sometimes feels that way!), but rather they go out to become part of the knitblogging culture. Thanks.

  94. I freaking LOVE that you did not link to any of the offenders. You got gobs of class.
    **insert virtual moon(of the pants kind) in the general direction of aforementioned meanies**

  95. Thank you for this post. Well said.
    I know personally how this sort of invective/criticism can hurt, no matter how much it is couched in “I can say what I want” and “I was just being honest.”
    Like many others, I feel fortunate not being privy to the latest round of … whatever. There is so much good going on in blogland, particularly knitting blogland, that it makes it especially unfortunate when people get nasty.
    I like this quote from Eleanor Roosevelt: “Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people.”

  96. I actually have a saved notepad document on my computer with a long post about the ‘its my blog’ stuff. Similar to someone else who posted though, it’s not to say mean things. More it was a protective measure so that people wouldn’t make mean/rude comments about my life or lifestyle. Yes, it is my blog, but that doesn’t mean I should go around posting things to piss people off or offend people.
    I’m sorry too, if you’ve been through this. 🙁
    Very well said.

  97. So much goes on in the blogging community at any given time, I can’t make assumptions about the origin of your post, Stephanie, but I can comment on blogs and comments thereon. I don’t blog. I’ve tried off and on to do so for the last ten years, and never managed to keep it up for long – I just can’t strike the right balance between sharing enough of life and way too much. 😉
    I, like many others who have commented, tend to vote with my fingers – I use google reader, and if a blog bores or offends me, I delete it. If, however, a blog’s commenters bore or offend me, I read the blog and ignore the comments. I’ve spent time commenting recently on a discussion oriented blog, where the first few discussion points resulted in generally well thought out discussions. Lately, however, it seems the name-calling and point-and-laugh contingent have seeped in too deeply, not only amongst the commenters, but within the blog itself.
    I think in some cases it becomes a matter of habit – we sit at our desks anonymously for so many years, in so many online forums, that we completely forget that there /is/ a world on the other side of the screen. It might be your living room, but that makes you the host(ess), with all the duties and graciousness required in that role.
    Thank you for reminding us of that.

  98. Oh dear…can it be true that this subject once again needs to be addressed? It’s so sad that anyone, anywhere feels the need to abuse another for any reason. Pettiness and envy are usually the reasons. When you run across something so mean spirited the best thing to do is remember what they say isn’t about you…it’s about them. Keep up the good work, Steph.

  99. I try to remember the Golden Rule with anything that goes out in the world. If I don’t want to be treated/talked about in that way, I don’t treat someone else that way. Too bad more people don’t think about that before they act. This was a nice post to read and a good reminder to think before posting. Thanks!

  100. I think you’ve made a great series of points, even though I don’t really know what sparked them. I know I voiced my confusion in my blog on the snowdrop, but it’s b/c I’m a new lace knitter; I hope I didn’t offend…

  101. as the saying goes in our family, those folks who behave so badly get the ultimate payback — they have to go through life being them.

  102. I read this and immediately assumed it was directed at me–I seem to be the Travel Agent for Guilt Trips. I recently blogged about my summer nanny and mentioned that she drives a luxury SUV. I was not assigning some sort of value judgement, just contrasting it to MY first car– which should never have been allowed on the road it was so unsafe, and what was my mother thinking?
    Well, the Summer Nanny’s mother read the piece and she felt she needed to explain why her daughter had that car. She felt judged by me, even though that was very far from my intention. It was a good reminder that people are sensitive creatures, and especially sensitive to criticism (real or imagined) when it’s out there on the Internet for anyone to see. Thanks for the reminder, Stephanie! (Sorry this got so long.)

  103. Hear Hear! You are so right about this-thank you for reminding everyone that a little common sense and respect goes a long way!

  104. I don’t know when I’ve heard anyone talk about the internet, and its forums, blogs, and messaging places and the behaviour too often exhibited there, more clearly than this. Well said.

  105. I think I am glad I missed this -whatever it was. Sometimes on my blog I say disparaging things-but only about me or my husband of 35 years-he knows I say them-I am joking about him or something dumb I have done to a knitting pattern(I may have myself tested for pattern dyslexia-alzheimer’s testing is unnessesary-it’s a given). See what I mean. lol
    I hope whatever was said wasn’t too hurtful. I have always found the knitting community to be the most accepting group I’ve had the pleasure to be a part of and I hope whoever said whatever sees themselves before bad Karma hits. It always does. Hard.

  106. fantastic post – i only wish i could be so eloquent. i guess it can be easy to forget about the real people when we hide behind the veil of anonymity and pseudonyms in the virtual world…

  107. Well said. Thank you for using your front room to keep us aware of the effect of our lives on others. I’ve only bumped into funky knitting blogs a few times and leapt right off them – it was shocking to find that in Knit Land! True, necessary and kind are great criteria…

  108. Here, here, well said.
    My practice is to never write anything that I would be embarassed to see on the front page of the New York Times for all the world to see.
    Working in the legal industry, I have seen plenty of instances where the written word has tripped somebody up.

  109. Well put, as always. And I’ll try to contain my curiosity at what prompted it….
    But, sure, we know you’re human and read blogs and such, but you’ve gotten so famous, it’s like hearing that Julia Roberts came to your school play, or Paul McCartney dropped in on your band concert . . . it could happen (and I’m sure it does), but you just don’t expect it . . . not like you did before she was a Pretty Woman or before he was a Beatle (grin).
    (And before you modestly protest, yes, to the knit-blogging world, you do compare. I’m just kind of glad I was reading you before you became the rock star….)

  110. Great post, Stephanie. I wish that our public discourse in general could be more civil and sophisticated than it so often is.

  111. I think my change in career direction towards the business end of the spectrum taught me very quickly not to burn bridges that don’t need to be burned. You never know who you’ll need help from or be sitting across the table from at a party in the future. Best to reserve truly negative judgments to private spaces or not to express them at all.
    I’ve always tried my best to keep my blog in the “negativity free” zone. Generally speaking, there’s always something positive to talk about that’s probably a lot more interesting than just stirring up snark.
    People are always entitled to their opinions, but it seems to me that when you just lash out at someone and give them no chance to rebut or create dialog, then there’s no point to it beyond being vindictive. And who really has karma to burn on that?

  112. If you can’t say it to someone’s face, then you shouldn’t put it in your blog or say it in comments. I hope no one said anything nasty about you cause I’ll kick their ass (if you’d like me to). I’m in an ass kicking mood today.

  113. One of the aspects of your blog that tickles me and makes me smile is how often you brag about how great *other* knitters are! You link to their cool sites, show us pictures of their cool work, and you offer such articulate praise for their inspiration and dedication.
    If that’s not an anti-flame type of post, I don’t know what is. Thank you for continuing to be so positive, productive, and entertaining all the while.

  114. I have written and rewritten this comment so many times, that I have to concede. I am never going to write as brilliantly and as movingly as you Stephanie, nor can I seem to even get some of my strong feelings into words, so I give up. I hope no one was too hurt by whatever you are referencing. Knitters Unite!

  115. I am not entirely sure why, but I find this post oddly comforting. I agree with your points, and it is so important to be mindful of what we put out there. But I feel as though the ‘we are not alone’ part is, in the end, a huge, huge plus.

  116. Nicely stated. I don’t have a blog… yet, maybe someday, but I would like to say for all those that do, I appreciate all the shared life experiences, knitting knowledge, and great wit that I read almost daily. It takes a lot to share with so many. I just want to say thanks!

  117. This is so true. I think sometimes on the internet, people feel just a bit more “anonymous” than they really are.
    My policy for my blog and email is that I don’t write anything that every single person I know couldn’t read. No trash-talking or gossip. It’s not nice and it’d be way too easy to get caught! For instance, yesterday I MEANT to send an email to my sister and instead sent it to my parents. Imagine if I had written something I’d regret!

  118. Its always good when some one ,like yourself will stand up for whats absolutely right.
    And makes it plan they wont put up with anything
    other than right.
    Thank you
    Oh and by the by,im starting to be a copy cat.
    I buy all the yarns i see you buy,well maybe not all.And ive decided to knit a Kauni cardigan.
    These sales people owe alot to you blogers

  119. Great point. It’s a good thing the majority of us in this community are not meanies – or we wouldn’t have so many nice places to visit. I love to lurk at your place! Thanks for having me.

  120. Well said, Stephanie. I agree with Karen that there is a “mean is cute” thing in the broadcast media. I stopped watching tv in 1994 and I notice that when I do see it I’m shocked at the meanness, let alone all the other crap. I stopped reading 2 popular knitting blogs b/c of negativity. I’m sure the people are nice in person, but I choose not to subject myself voluntarily to too much snideness. It harshes my buzz, you know? 🙂

  121. Stephanie, thanks for that. I just wanted to add to all the good comments that you have the most wonderful way of writing about people,yarn, and the intersection of same. You’re funny in a kind way, and your blog is encouraging to knitters and bystanders alike. Nice work. Kind doesn’t have to be bland, it can be effervescent, which you prove every day.

  122. Wow. Somebody must have really hurt someone else. I’m grateful I haven’t seen whatever set that off. You’re so right about it being PUBLIC. One of the things I like about craft-oriented blogs is that while we often give opinions about “stuff” (fill in the blank: religion, politics, whatever), we generally try not to indulge in a lot of personal angst online (a lesson I’m hoping my niece picks up soon with her MySpace entries–oi!).

  123. Hmm there’s a picture on my recently renewed blog of me and you at the Victoria Fibrefest..i look decidely weas’lish – as i always do when laughing my head off. I’m known for having great pix when i’m mad n crappy ones when happy.
    I’ve never seen a blog ‘dis other people. Maybe i’m just lucky and haven’t found one referring to me 😛
    Off to google it to put my anxiety to rest!
    oh wait..Kent was called ‘a decidedly Hell’s Angel looking guy knitting pink and yellow fluff ” or something similar on a blog or two. But neither of us took it as criticism. For the record though he’s never ridden a motorcycle or done a pile o’ drugs either.

  124. I agree it’s all to easy for a person to send their personal thoughts and feelings out into hyperspace without feeling any of the ramifications. To be able to completely disassociate their rants and raves from the ‘people’ they are hurting is all too easy for some, especially, if a person is upset or shocked about a life event, random occurance, or nagging details.
    I don’t think every blog should be a happy go lucky place, and that it should contain ups and downs, but Stephanie, you are so right about at least a little self-censoring of the just plain hurtful rudeness.
    Thanks for the reminder!

  125. Very well put.
    I always try to remember not to write anything I wouldn’t say to someones face. And to also remember that I need to read comments and posts light hearted, not with a harsh tone. It seems to help keep me from getting offended and hurt since it is so hard to see the “tone” of the words without a face there to “read”

  126. Yup!!! And those of us who suffer from “accidental foot in mouth disease” need to remember that in a blog, you aren’t face to face with the person to clear up misunderstandings either. That has happened to me when someone reading my blog misinterpreted my “tone.” YIKES!!! I thought I was being funny and sort of “mea culpa” but my friend thought I was being crabby. She called me on it and I gave me pause to think. . . just like you did Stephanie. Thanks

  127. Delurking to say I don’t know which particular blog or comment or post you’re talking about and I’m glad. I have an essentially reader-less knitting blog and still I try my hardest not to say anything that can be interpreted as mean or spiteful to or about anyone because once things are done they can’t often be un-done.
    Why waste my time dissing someone else when I could be spending that time knitting!!! 🙂 Not to mention Karma, ya know?

  128. Very well said. In my opinion, if someone feels the driving need to write something nasty, click the “Private” button prior to posting that way only they can read it-no one else. Pish to the rude ones I say.

  129. Thank you very much for the “friendly” reminder. I have received a few negative comments – posted anonymously of course!
    Loved the last line!

  130. I’ve been lucky enough to not come across any of those sites. I’m glad that you have said something about it though! You’re like the bully buster hehe! Way to call’em on it!

  131. Well said. I certainly hope the people who inspired this wonderful (and probably well deserved) post are reading it too and know that you’re talking to THEM.

  132. I try, most often, to keep my blog about my own self. If I do mention others, it is rarely in a fit of pique. I do, however, have to admit that Ms. Ranotta **waves to her wherever she is** deserved her dubious mention………she, however, heard it directly from me and my lawyer, too. 😉
    But, for the majority of the time, I believe in being civil, constructive, supportive and generally well behaved as one should be in polite society while in my blog.
    Admittedly, my blog gets very personal sometimes. Mostly because I get nearly no traffic to it (site meters rule) and find it cathartic to write – and honestly? I really don’t care about people reading about a lot of my personal emotions if they can tolerate the drivel that flows from my fingers.
    Livejournal gets my serious, serious musings simply because of the lockdown options. But general stuff I’d ramble about to my pals? Sure – tis up on me blog for all and sundry to read, and welcome to it … which means minding my manners.
    I find myself quite flummoxed by those who do not comprehend the basic principles of proper behavior – but more and more, what you have pointed out seems to be happening.
    I want to make a blog button that says, “We can hear you!” with a link to some kind of Ms. Manners website *grins*

  133. I have come across a few of these hurtful items lately and I’m glad you’ve spoken up about it. For the most part, the bloggers weren’t the culprits that took cheap shots at others; the commentors made the statements. At the time, I pondered taking the commentors to task but decided, perhaps wrongly, that it was up to the person who authored the blog to address the matter.
    I applaud you for your maturity in addressing these issues, I don’t know if I would have been able to refrain from some uncomplimentary vocabulary of my own. Why are some folks so darn catty? Why can’t they be happy for those of us who acheive in our chosen fields? There is plenty of room for all.
    Thanks again for a very graceful rebuttal.

  134. I have had it happen to a friend, and it was very hurtful to her. She was able to rise above it, however, and not lower herself to the same level. You are right, nothing that you wouldn’t say to someone’s face should be said in a blog (or any other medium for that matter). Thank you Stephanie for putting it out there.

  135. Well said, as always. I *did* have to think about one of my recent posts, but all I did was call my husband a bad name – because he got to go on a business trip to Alaska as well – and I didn’t get to go! How awesome would THAT have been – to see you in NY and AK!
    It tickles me that you have as much fun reading knitting blogs as we all obviously have reading yours. It’s sad that things like this need to be said, but you say it with your usual endless humor and grace.

  136. Reason #5434321 that I heart you, Ms. Harlot.
    And if I thought for a second you were reading my blog, I’d have kittens. Then pee. Then probably pee kittens.

  137. I’m glad so many people don’t know what you’re talking about. I know I was reading one blog, which someone alluded to above, and I quit. I almost quit a really well-written one that doesn’t get into that stuff but does list my boycotted one. Why support rudeness? “Be kind. Everyone you meet is fighting a tough battle.”

  138. Ha, well said. I didn’t know what you were talking about, but I suspected that it might have originated on a certain blog that I no longer read because I find it unpleasantly negative. So I checked and sure enough… It is a shame that some people feel the need to express themselves in such vitriolic terms, but hey, they need not stop the rest of us enjoying ourselves. Everyone has the right not to read/buy anything they don’t want to.

  139. wow. I feel like I just walked in on a hot conversation and wondering, “what happened? what’s going on? Did I miss something? Someone is saying nasty things about people here? What?” and then saying, “never mind, I don’t need to know, I don’t want to know. I’ll just go back to minding my own business. I’ll probably run into this problem sooner or later anyway. No need to rush it.”
    but it is always good to be reminded to mind your manners every now and then.

  140. Nicely put. The computer/electronic era has given us lots of exciting ways to communicate, it has also somehow taken our manners away. (“us” and “our” being the global “us” and “our” of course)

  141. I am fairly new to blogging and have only been posting since February of 2007. I started it as a way for my Mom and Dad to have a way to follow what I and my family have been doing. I try to post as though they are reading each day and I try to post comments on other blogs that would reflect well on them and my upbringing. That being said, I have often been dismayed by comments I have read on other blogs and the “trashing” of another’s idea or viewpoint. Sadly, the internet often emboldens commenters who assume a sort of alter ego (they really don’t know who I am) so therefore it is okay to be as mean and nasty as they want. One of the things that attracted be to your blog was the openness and honesty about yourself and your family. Your have a huge readership. It didn’t get that way because you were negative or attacked others. To those bloggers who want to attract readers, this is something to think about.
    P.S. My son had the gall to graduate from high school the same week you spoke in Petaluma, California, thereby causing me to choose between thee and him. He won. However, I want to thank you and Copperfield’s Books for having my book autographed to me personally (complete with comment!) and sending it to me overnight. I still want to hear you speak. WIll there be another chance this year? There’s nothing in the yearn tour notes after June 11. Thanks.

  142. Coming out of lurkdom to agree with the masses. Thanks for a well written and sadly needed post. I definitely think that we need to post/comment responsibly. There’s already so much nastiness on the net, in the media and in our lives. I don’t see any reason to add to it. 🙂

  143. I would love to know what you saw that prompted you to post this! Since having a pattern published in Knitty, I’ve become a little more aware of this type of thing. There are lots of bloggers that like to do pattern reviews and I’ve noticed a few mean ones. Most just stick to saying what they like and unlike the “would rather gouge out my eyes than knit that” just don’t say anything at all. Fortunately, the vast majority of blogs I read come from considerate, thoughtful people. I’m glad I haven’t come across anyone that consistently posts like that.
    For anyone wanting to read another interesting discussion of this type, check out the “new knitty is up” thread on craftster.org. Someone there was pretty brash in some of their comments. Thank goodness lots of others reminded that person that there are REAL people involved with feelings. I just hope the poor “skinny” model didn’t see it!

  144. Back in the old days, before the internet was THE INTERNET, I learned my lesson about “anything you say will be read by someone else.”
    I find that people being rude or inappropriate is a common mistake newbies make. People think they’re just talking quietly to a few friends, in reality, they’re screaming in a huge space full of strangers.
    Most of the blogs I read, however, are really a few friends talking amongst themselves. And most of the people I know tend to realize they’re in a public forum. I get enough rude and nasty in person, I don’t have to spend my free time getting my fill.
    Good for you for reminding people to be nice, Steph.

  145. Well said. It’s one thing to say “this pattern has these technical issues” than to say “this pattern is hideous”. Granted, I have no idea what situation you’re talking about, but I’m glad. I deal with enough soap operas in my life it seems, I don’t need to add anymore. 🙂

  146. Mmmm, I guess I’m of multiple minds about this trend, which is one I’ve seen around as long as I’ve been online. People do forget they’re talking to Real Live People(tm), and get carried away; and people also get oversensitive. Sometimes people get hurt feelings when that was never intended, and then again, sometimes people get swept up in the group mean dynamic without really thinking about it until later.
    I’m not a pure believer in the notion of never saying anything critical or negative, and I’m not a pure believer in Always Being Nice. But I am a believer in trying to put myself in the other person’s shoes, and trying to word things carefully to avoid unecessary hurt. Even so, though, sometimes it seems entirely impossible to say anything without ruffling feathers. There have certainly been times for me when I’ve stated an opinion as neutrally and blandly as I can, only to have people fly off the handle feeling hurt. That’s been upsetting to me in return, even! You know, like, “Why did I bother phrasing this carefully and wording this diplomatically in the first place? I may as well have just cracked wise about someone’s mama.”
    Then again, sometimes people are just mean, and enjoy being mean for its own sake. Sometimes you don’t even realize that’s how they are at first, and that can be especially upsetting. Folks who strike me as being in it not for any potentially constructive reason at the root of it, but for the thrill of drama, I try to just ignore and avoid.
    Why? Because whether any of us likes it or not, as you point out, these are public posts, and when we blog we make a portion of ourselves public. It’s like walking out on stage to play music, to a degree — there is a risk of being booed, or having people not like our material. Sooner or later, if one is in the public eye, one will be mocked, derided, and booed. And yeah, it stings. But fortunately it passes. However, it remains one of the risks of online life which I think we just have to accept. Heck, not just online life — anywhere in life. We’ll encounter negativity, and how we deal with it says more in many respects than anything else.

  147. Steph, you are right on target with this post. I’ve been blogging about 4 years now. My jaw dropped the first time I read terribly disparaging remarks on a few blogs. And even though many of us have made comments similar to yours over the past few years, it seems like there is still a cyclical wave of meanness that passes through some of the knitblog community two or three times a year. Someone else mentioned voting with your fingers, and I do, so I’m not aware of what prompted this post, and probably the people who need to read it, won’t. But well-said, as always.

  148. I remember being told that I should never do or say anything that I wouldn’t want my parents to read about on the front page of the newspaper…. now, that’s not to say I’ve never DONE anything I wouldn’t want my parents to read about, but the principal is a sound one…

  149. Yes! I’m a new blogger and feel privileged to be a part of this community (I’m not a *great* knitter.. still, I AM a knitter.) Your message applies to every facet of all of our lives. “One receives what one gives” is what I believe. Simple truth. My husband points out that there are “the perpetually outraged”; they’re not happy unless they’re miserable and saying so. How sad. We need give them no quarter.

  150. Well put – my brother committed suicide last month, and when my parents wrote to the local papers about putting up a suicide barrier on the bridge, they received back a few “how stupid are you people?” comments via the online comment forms.
    I’ve seen on blogs and forums where someone expresses an opinion or recounts a difficult situation and gets jumped on and insulted by people they don’t even know. It’s disheartening, but true that people will say things online they wouldn’t say to your face.
    I think you’re right, there’s a difference between criticism and viciousness. Thanks for bringing this up.

  151. You hit the nail on the head when you called them “troubled” for that is exactly what they are – although they’d never admit it.
    I think I know who you’re referring to and I cringed when I read her latest post (for the record, I was directed there by someone else).
    Luckily, these people don’t have the readership to cause any real harm, but it hurts, nonetheless.
    Good on you for speaking out – I should’ve done likewise when it happened to me via one of her cronies.

  152. I’m so glad to see you saying this today. Just this weekend I read some blogs that I had previously deleted from my usuals for this exact reason, and . . . yep. They’re still at it. Yours is always funny and self-deprecating and appreciative and just generally good. Thank you for that.

  153. Sing it, Stephanie! I get so riled up when I see people using their public blogs to disparage others. It’s like breaking up via text messaging. Not classy.
    There was a time when I was a pretty hypocritical jerk and enjoyed trashing people behind their backs, because I was pathetic and insecure. When I started blogging two years ago, I quickly realized that if I wanted my friends to read my blog, I couldn’t bitch about them ON my blog. Embracing the “if I wouldn’t say it to their face, I wouldn’t write it on my blog” principle has made me a better blogger and a much nice person in general.

  154. We make our life heaven or we make our life hell by the way we behave.
    I’m always amazed by the people who complain about their bosses, MIL’s, etc as if no one will ever see it

  155. I too avoid a few of those mean and rude blogs. I prefer to stay with the ones that energize me and make me feel better – not worse!
    This private/public thing that is a blog is a subject of reflexion for me now. I would need to ventile a bit of my stress, or my anger, or my sadness (all due to real-life life!). But I know that some people in my so-called real life will or may read them. So I am much more refrained that I would like or need sometimes. (The virtual friends do not worry me so much, to be honest. My blog seems not to be a highway, and I have had good experience until now.) Maybe I should start to write on a real paper-journal? Maybe… Or write an anonym blog? bof
    But this community of knitter is full of good-willing person too. It is what makes it so precious to me.
    In short I like YOUR humour, full of self-humour, humanity and life-lessons (not learned sometimes, like in that gauge domain…). And your generosity. And the way you use your “power” and celebrity for good causes.
    If I may say what I dislike? We… maybe that you are not constantly writing to us, and that you use some precious knitting/living/writing time to clean your house and/or do the laundry!?
    I am kidding of course.
    I hope that you are laughing now. Or smiling at least. I wish I could offer you a beer, and have a really good laugh with you. It appears that we need that both tonight.
    I wish you a good evening and night (it is 21:28 here)

  156. hear here! 🙂
    i’ve (seen, experienced, witnessed, lived) enough of this IRL from those mean spririted ones… but of course, this is usually at an age that folks are still learning.
    let’s keep it out of the playground, shall we?
    thank you.

  157. I concur with it all. There are a few blogs I have read regularly until I realized that the blogger is just too intense or opinionated to be worth reading. Anyway, I hope the worst you could say about my blog is that it is uninspired, but I really would welcome readers with comments.

  158. As usual, said with eloquence and tact!
    There’s a couple of old sayings I like to live by.
    “Never put on paper what you don’t want the whole world to see”
    and of course,
    “If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all.”

  159. Bravo!!!!! What was that rule, something about don’t do or say anything that you wouldn’t want to tell your pastor, spouse, children, parents, etc. — you get the idea! I wish everyone would remember that we are never alone and that common courtesy should prevail – it would be a much nicer, calmer, kinder world if we all took time to appreciate each others positives instead of negatives – thanks again Stephanie, you continue to be an inspiration!

  160. Good for you…..Mean people suck!
    I came across one blog just today that the lady was writing about muslim girls and the muslim head scarf. It was a positive blog and I really liked it, then I noticed that she had stopped writing in it about a year ago. Then I read one of the comments and realized why. Someone had left her such a viscious and threatening comment that I can see why she had stopped. I would be afraid too.
    Please can we think before we write?
    Visit this blog http://www.hijabblogs.blogspot.com/
    please and leave a happy positive comment.

  161. What a great post! I can’t believe people would do that sort of thing. Thanks for the wake up call….hopefully it will affect someone who is actually doing that sort of awful thing.

  162. I agree with Abby. I feel that the ‘Golden Rule’ tends to suppress valid negative opinion. Criticism is a necessary part of the creative process.
    I am a regular reader of one of the blogs alluded to in these comments and will continue to read that blog because I find it to be a refreshing change. The blog author criticises people’s work or trends not the person or individuals concerned.
    Don’t forget that suppressing negative opinion is a form of censorship. I’m sure many commenters would be up in arms if they were told to hold back from expressing negative opinions about their governments.

  163. I have a very black and white rule when it comes to stuff like this. I don’t say things about someone behind their back that I wouldn’t say to their face. Now, I’ll say an awful lot of things to someone’s face, but most of it won’t touch what people feel ok about whispering behind their hands.

  164. Kudos for taking the high road Steph. Unfortunately I know exactly who you are referring to and after reading her rant, I honestly felt sorry for her. It’s far too easy to find the negative in everything – what a toxic way to live! For pete’s sake, most knitters pick up the sticks and string for enjoyment and relaxation, and turn to the knit blog community for inspiration, not killjoy antics. Because of that blogger’s appalling case of sour grapes (and no matter what she says to the contrary, that’s exactly what it boils down to) I will no longer be reading her increasingly unwitty posts.
    PS – I’ve been reading your blog for a while now and just yesterday came across your YH book at my local library. After howling through the first few chapters I kicked myself for not seeking out your books sooner. Keep up the great work. Fingers crossed, a future book tour will bring you through the Philly suburbs!

  165. I keep seeing people writing posts like this, but it just makes me wonder…where are these bloggers who are writing not-nice things about others? They certainly aren’t on my list of reads.
    I guess I’m running in the wrong (nice) blog-circles. 🙂

  166. So I was reading your post and shaking my head, and the purient interest portion of my brain wondered who it was. Whereupon, another part of my brain said, I think I know — and sure enough, it was the same blogger whose blog I removed from my list because of the same kind of unrelenting negativity.
    I agree with one of the other commenters in that I am not a proponent of never saying anything in criticism, because if you have an opinion to express, your blog is a place for you to do that. However, there’s no reason on earth you can’t express negative opinions in non-hurtful ways.
    You said this so perfectly, as always. Thank you.

  167. Stephanie,
    I’ve been reading your blog for about a year and a half. I love it. I’ve had my own blog since January. It truly would never occur to me that you or anyone would have time to track down and read every silly little blog out there. I too would be surprised and flattered to think you had ever visited my humble blog.

  168. One time I teased my husband in the comments of your blog (he only likes solid color socks). I just never thought he would read it. Then one day he googled my name and “harlot” and up popped all of my comments. “What’s this???” I hear from across the room! Oh dear! (He’s probably going to read this one too.) No matter what, you have to be careful. Luckily, he is the forgiving sort!
    Thanks for the eloquent reminder. I love reading your blog and the comments.

  169. Yes, Stephanie, YES. I’m betting that most of us are glad to have left high school behind and did not come in to this online community looking to recreate the experience, but I’ve come across a few who seem to miss those days of clique-ish behaviour and vicious sniping. At least now, unlike high school, when we come across that sort of stuff we can cut the vicious people out of our lives with a click.

  170. This is the ugly flip side of the comment trashing that happens to lots of bloggers–you and Cara are the ones who come to mind initially: A reader takes issue with something you (or another reader) has said, and a giant flameout begins, often at the expense of the blog’s owner.
    Now, I’m the opposite of many of your previous commenters–I say lots of things behind people’s backs that I wouldn’t say to their faces. (I’m not proud of it, but I do it nonetheless.) But I wouldn’t blog anything I wouldn’t say to their faces.

  171. Sorry if this idea posts twice, the internet crapped out on me.
    Yes, we’re in public, but we still have the right to criticize. A pattern deserving a bad review should absolutely get one.
    However, let’s make sure to stick to the topic, and not make it personal. We all make mistakes, and we are not failures as people because we knit something bad. I certainly have.

  172. As they say at least once in every Star Wars movie: “I have a bad feeling about this”. I hope that the guilty parties recognize themselves and rejoin the community of the gracious.
    There was a case of “how public is this blog anyway?” here in my town: a physician who blogged regularly let some comments and allusions to a court case he was involved in creep into his blog. The opposing side read them all – the case was settled the next day. What was this fellow thinking? He used a nickname and all that, but when one steps into court for any reason they start looking at everything.
    Hope the folks who need to know the rules get to read your post; those of us who haven’t erred yet have been cheerfully reminded. Thank You.

  173. Good on yer!
    Peter over at wwww.nakedblog.com once called his readers “the glass people” (i.e., the people behind the monitor) and I think we often forget that they are real. It’s seductive, sitting alone in your home, writing to no one, because it’s hard to realize that those people? The people on the other side of the glass? Yep. They have feelings, too. It’s not ghosts that are leaving comments or clicking on my blog – it’s real, live people. Shylock said in the Merchant of Venice “If you prick us, do we not bleed? if you tickle us, do we not laugh?” and this applies to the glass people, too.
    My intro psych professor once said that everything you ever wanted to learn about human beings was in Shakespeare. I think he might have been right.

  174. I understand your feelings were hurt by whatever this blogger said (presumably about you, and kudos to you for not naming names), but I’ve got to take issue with your analogy. A blog is not a party in my home. It’s not even a block party open to all and sundry in my neighborhood. I don’t send invitations to individual people to read my blog, and I don’t flyer all over the particular neighborhood I live in either, which is how block parties are typically advertised.
    A blog is a lot more like a magazine, or opinion section of the newspaper. But wait, I can hear you saying, a newspaper isn’t a community! We have community in the blogosphere! To that I say, clearly you have never seen exchanges go back and forth for weeks, if not months, in the opinion section of the paper. I’ve even seen this back and forth in academic journals, from scientists and researchers around the globe, interacting with each other through a print medium. Sure, blogs move faster than academic journals or even newspapers, but the format is mostly the same. And boy howdy do people say some critical, even mean-spirited things in those formats.
    I personally get really annoyed in livejournal communities and other online forums when people overreact and jump down your throat for saying something even the tiniest bit critical. I can’t imagine that those people would tell the NYTimes book reviewers that “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all!” or “Be nice to first time authors and encourage them so they don’t quit” even if they desperately need some serious editing and concrit. And yet they feel fine saying that on the internet, everything has to always be positive and happy and uncritical. That’s just as unhealthy a behavior as being mean just for the sake of being mean, IMO.

  175. Wow. I am very glad that I do not know which blog/blogs prompted you to write this post. Although I will admit that I am very apprehensive about leaving comments. The first time I left a comment on a blog, I was totally and completely flamed. I made the cardinal sin of not agreeing with the blog writer (and her readers) about a specific point she made. War ensued. I obviously don’t read that blog anymore….but it also took me quite awhile to realize that not everyone was that vitriolic. And leaving comments could be a nice thing.

  176. We moved to a smallish town recently, and one of first things that other newcomers mention is how you can’t honk at anyone in traffic around here – chances being pretty good that it’s someone you know. Old timers suggest that the amount of honking is rising – a sure sign not so much of a loss of civility, but of a loss of mutual familiarity (the local population is growing).
    It’s up to all of us to act as if we still live in a small town, even if it is growing bigger.

  177. This is why I don’t have a blog. I will content myself reading the BLOGs of others, that I enjoy. Not that I would say anything purposely to offend someone, but I might, then I would feel bad, or someone would insult me or my blog, and I would feel worse. I’ll stick to reading blogs of people I enjoy and leaving nice comments. Patti’s world is pretty simple.

  178. Thanks, Steph, for another classy reminder that we are a community. I don’t know exactly what/who has been perpetrating these offenses, but I read a blog (a rather popular one) yesterday where she talked about a yarn store. I would be shocked if no one at that store reads her blog, so now they know how she felt. But is it a bad thing? I think the line you drew between being critical and being vicious is an important one, but perhaps the line is in a different place for businesses. Restaurant reviews are published no-hold-barred, and no one is accused of hurting the cook or servers’ feelings. Yet if someone says they got poor service at a LYS or that a yarn purchased online wasn’t how it was described, but that yarn was sold in an etsy shop and has a personal “face” to it, people are much more sensitive. A friend of mine agonized for a week about reviewing a sock yarn she’d purchased because it was horrible and she felt it was dishonest not to say so, and yet in the “knitting community” negative feedback to someone else’s creativity is taboo. What to do? I think she decided not to mention it on the blog, but it bothered her that she felt she could only say nice things instead of honest things. Again, I don’t know what brought on your gentle reminder, and it seems from some of the above comments that what you’re talking about wasn’t a LYS or yarn review. Hopefully that person will reflect having been given the opportunity, since EVERYBODY reads your blog. 🙂

  179. I’ll keep this in mind the next time I’m about to post a picture of knitwear-induced cat torture — what must people think of me! …. On a more serious note, you are absolutely right. Thanks for the social commentary. (P.S. I really hope I’ve never unintentionally been guilty of what you discuss.)

  180. “I’m very grateful right now that I have no idea what you are talking about.”
    What a wonderful way to end a conversation when someone says something tacky, gossipy, diss-y, or anything else that is not worthy of a response.
    Miss Manners would be very proud of you, Cindy Cindy, and I appreciate the new arrow for my quiver.

  181. Last night, my group of friends and I were discussing the fact that people are simply getting “meaner” lately. Don’t know why (and perhaps the abundance of frozen margaritas hindered our thinking somewhat) but it seems to be a universal trend. Very sad.

  182. Amen, sister! I haven’t come across anything as horrid as you’ve described, but clearly it’s out there.
    And just for the record, as one of those people who’ve been shocked that you’ve been our blog, it’s not that we’re so surprised that you might have visited and read a post or two — it’s that you remembered, with such precision, what we’d been working on or just finished. You’re such a busy woman and must visit hundreds of Web sites a day. How on earth do you remember it all?

  183. Well said! Why is it that people think they live in a vacumm? Unfortunately, people would rather complain to anyone and everyone who will listen (or read) – but will say not one word about anything good.
    Very thought provoking Stephanie, thank you!

  184. Thank you for being a class act.
    When I first started on my own blog, I knew that my mother-in-law would be reading it. The blog was started with the intention of keeping in touch with my family all over the U.S. (Texas, East Coast, Denver, etc.).
    My mother-in-law is a Southern LADY, and I utterly adore her. I keep her in my mind’s eye when I type.
    All the best to you and yours, and I’m so jealous of that Alaskan trip! ::goes back to look at the pictures again::

  185. Yikes, I have read this same type of post more than once in the last week or two. Glad to see I am missing something (for once).
    I got in trouble yesterday for an e-mail that I wrote, where I simply requested that my question of the previous week actually be answered! All you know what broke loose. Funny – I was just asking the person to do their job…and I am the customer!
    I guess it goes to show you that sometimes what you write can be misconstrued to be mean…when in actuallity it isn’t. I always try to put myself in the other person’s shoes to see if what I am writing can sound mean.
    Now I feel the need to go re-read my posts on my blog to see if I have followed my own rules!

  186. You haven’t been reading my blog lately, have you? I’m still moping after my break-up, and readers keep calling my ex-boyfriend a bastard… which he isn’t. And he reads my blog. Even though we’ve broken up, he still likes to make sure I’m okay… *definitely* not a bastard. The break-up would have been a lot easier if he had been. 😛 I defend him on my blog, and tell him in e-mails that he’s not… but I wish my commenter’s would be more polite.

  187. I remember finding out about a relationship breaking up on someone’s blog. It was my relationship – not my blog. You’ve written a great reminder of etiquette we should all practice. Thank you.

  188. Funny, I read a blog just today that viciously disparaged a family member and his mate and I thought that surely her family members read her blog, at least some of them and won’t her comments make it their way. And it made me sad, even if those people are the way she described, I think they deserve the benefit of the doubt and a chance in the family. It made me want to cry because I could just imagine being that person and having to face at least one family member who obviously thinks I am a tramp and wonder who else feels the same way.
    Thanks for the Come-to-Jesus post. We could all use a wake up call once in a while.

  189. All I can say is DAYUM!!
    I try to remember my little sister reads my blog and so does my other mother. Also, I try to bear in mind what my dad would say if he were here to read it. It’s amazing to me how many people don’t get the basic difference between criticism and being a *witch*. It’s sad for them, really.

  190. A thought-provoking post. I work in publishing, and I routinely describe books I’m reading on my blog. Sometimes those descriptions are slightly less than a full-out rave review, though I don’t think I’ve ever slammed a book.
    There’s a difference between criticism and cruelty, I guess is my point. I recently blogged about a writer who used a stereotype which I found personally offensive. Did I take a swing at her? No. Did I call her names? No. Did I ignore the insulting stereotype and give a false positive review? No, nor should I have.
    But now I feel the urge to re-read my own blog and make sure I’m holding to my own standards of decency. Which is probably never a bad thing.
    Keep on keepin’ on, Steph. We love you for it and for all you do for this community.

  191. Snort! Wonder if this was precipitated by the content of a certain blog I deleted from my Favorites last week. It’s amazing how one person’s success can become such a burr under another person’s saddle.
    Rock on, dudette.

  192. You know, I really love reading your blog because there is always something that makes me smile or think. This was a well-stated and classy post addressing some of the more vitriolic blogs out there. I wonder if you may be referring in whole or in part to one particular blog I used to enjoy reading, until the tone of the blogger became almost relentlessly bitter, and the commentators became mainly snide. No matter, I think you addressed the issue well. Your post is a great reminder to us all, that we might be posting alone in a garret, but that the world can see what we are writing. Thanks for continuing to be positive and inspiring.

  193. You go girl! I couldn’t have said it better myself!
    My mother is a conservative Baptist, and I would never, ever write anything that I would be ashamed to have my mother read – that way I can never offend.
    Although “never say never”, right? Great, now I’m worried… Could I have inadvertantly offended someone? I predict another sleepless night ahead… 🙂

  194. Snort! I wonder if this was precipitated by the content of a certain blog that I deleted from my list last week. Amazing how one person’s success can become such a burr under another person’s saddle.
    Rock on, dudette

  195. You are always so gracious and a lot more able to come to the point of the matter than I would ever be, I guess that’s the writer in you. Thank you for reminding us of the basic and general etiquette that we should all be following so that being a part of the community that is “blog-land” is a much more pleasant place to “live” and people feel welcome.
    Enjoy your blog and love your books…I so wish that I could be someplace that you are speaking at the same time that you are there, but I always seem to be there just before or just after you…boo hoo.

  196. As someone who can REALLY put her foot in her mouth, I want to say THANK YOU. Thank you for being the voice of reason, for reminding people of what they should have learned from their momma’s in the first place.
    Cruelty is just that cruel. Don’t sugar coat it and call it honesty. If you want to be honest with someone then be honest, with them, FACE to FACE. Public humiliation is so High School. *rolls eyes and does Valley Girl imititation*
    I swear to god that I despair of people ever really growing out of that phase.
    That’s not to say that we have to walk around afraid to offend people and censoring ourselves left and right, but common sense is free.
    Stephanie, sing it sister.

  197. Thank you, Dear One…The world is full enough of negative crap…it doesn’t need more, in fact we need to create more positive energy through our words, and deeds, the more out there the better. Granted…I can be a C-rusty O-ld B-itch with the best but the meanness? nope, huh uh. it’s just not necessary.

  198. i have been victim of this once or twice but i try so hard not to name the people
    and i am trying to be better about venting about work.
    however since ive been at my new job ive no real need to vent.
    i like my new job a lot and get a long with the people
    and i love reading your blog you always so eloquent.

  199. As someone who can REALLY put her foot in her mouth, I want to say THANK YOU. Thank you for being the voice of reason, for reminding people of what they should have learned from their momma’s in the first place.
    Cruelty is just that cruel. Don’t sugar coat it and call it honesty. If you want to be honest with someone then be honest, with them, FACE to FACE. Public humiliation is so High School. *rolls eyes and does Valley Girl imititation*
    I swear to god that I despair of people ever really growing out of that phase.
    That’s not to say that we have to walk around afraid to offend people and censoring ourselves left and right, but common sense is free.
    Stephanie, sing it sister.

  200. In the olden days, when dinosaurs ruled the earth, there was no Internet and I was in journalism school, my friend Karen and I agreed that we should never write anything in a diary that we wouldn’t want to see on the front page of the local paper. (As if we’d have such racy lives! Alas, I for one have not.)
    But now? Writing a blog is like putting something on the front page of every newspaper in the world. Not everyone is going to pick it up and read it, but they could. The Boston Globe recently did an article about young people not getting hired or even interviewed for jobs because of the unfortunate content of their myspace pages.
    And I have to admit, I feel a little guilty. In my last blog, I said that my father bought the cheapest beer he could find (come on, now, beer in white cans with black lettering that said “Generic?) and that my mother made inedible potato salad. Wonder if they have a high-speed linkup in Heaven? If so, I’m in trouble.

  201. I just realized that I don’t think I’ve ever commented on your blog, but I’ve been reading (and thoroughly enjoying) it for a while. I don’t mean to lurk, it just takes me a while to move toward the center of this community sometimes. For the most part, I find it to be a really supportive place. Yours is a good reminder to us all to keep it that way.

  202. Sing it sister! A blog is not exactly the same thing as a diary — if people read your diary, they deserve what they get, but isn’t a blog just a bit more, well, expurgated than that? Maybe? In the interests of civility and world peace?

  203. Thank you so much! I’m still new to this blog thing. Alway heard about it never did it or read them until recently. Then I found myself reading them more and more and the comments. Then realized that this is a community. A community where you can share,be inspired,laugh, and where you could be completely understood why you would go nutzy, dizzy over a skein a yarn.When your family can’t.I have kids that knit but they just aren’t as hooked as I am( well except for one daughter). Not to mention it help me go through a transition faze of relocating up north.Blogs have helped me discover places and events I would have never otherwise known about. Keep up the good work and thank you again.

  204. Very well done entry. Thank you. I have not had any particular issues with bloggers but I have had many problems with posters on internet message boards who, hiding behind the security of anonymity, trashed and vilified and tried to cause all sorts of trouble for me. This includes posting hateful messages to my blog. I even had one (anonymous) poster send an email to several of my business clients telling them (anonymously) what a horrible person I am (in his opinion).
    The internet has given us a wonderful means of creativity and communication but it has also given a lot of very mean and unhappy people the ability to vent their personal misery without having to take responsibility for it. They are cowards, but they are cowards who can do a lot of damage.
    I appreciate your speaking out about this. I have written a number of entries on my blog about it and I encourage others to do the same. We have to establish our own standards and hold to them.
    Thanks again.

  205. Although I rarely blog (despite being the proud owner of THREE sites), I am an avid lurker. And with my newfound love of knitting, I tend to lurk in as many knitter’s and knitcom blogs as I can and I know the type about whom you speak… I thought language and sentiments like that were only used when a stitch was dropped?!
    There was an entire post-worth of “I don’t do ___ because I think it’s stupid and people who do ____ are also stupid”. Sad, about people who are so closed, isn’t it?
    Anywho, keep fighting the good fight.
    Soon to be crashing your Wed. knit night when I move to the Big City,

  206. Coming out of lurkerdom to say thank you for this post! Yes, it is amazing to me what people will put on their blogs, as though no one else can ever find them or hear about them. This is a particularly sensitive topic for me, as I recently found out a friend of mine had been hurling invective at me on her blog (seriously, four-letter words and all … and the worst part is, even after reading that post, I still have no idea what I did to deserve it). Needless to say, she is now a former friend.
    It’s astonishing how some people don’t quite seem to realize there’s a whole world that exists outside of their heads, and that actions (and words) have consequences. One of the reasons I love reading your blog, Stephanie, is your attitude, that sense that life is so full of wonderful things that it’s senseless to focus on the negative.
    (I love the comment about the pre-historic cave painting, by the way. I can just see it…)

  207. Well said. I always try to pause after I right a post about someone… would I say that to their face? Would they be hurt if they read what I wrote? Would I be embarassed or ashamed of myself if were confronted by what I wrote? If the answer is yes to any of those I’ll either re-write it to be less whatever or I’ll just abandon ship. You never know who’s lurking in the closet.

  208. Whenever I read a post like this, I get heatedly curious about what brought it on. In this case, it also reminds me of an interesting story in Time Out NY that was discussing several subtypes of “hipsters,” one of which was focused on achieving coolness through vicious snark. Makes me wonder if that is part of what you’ve been observing. On the other hand, even though I think I’m a pretty compassionate person, I am sure that I’ve probably offended somebody at some point or other, purely accidentally, when I thought I was being funny while blogging or commenting.

  209. I recently listened to a public radio program about this very topic. It is certainly not limited to knitting blogs. But it is a shame, because it gives the larger powers that (wanna) be one more reason to try and control the internet and censor the contents. In other words, there are bigger problems out there, and we’ve got to stick together… opps on a high horse here… getting off.

  210. Y’know, I’ve done the whole “it’s your blog and you should post what you want” thing. However, only in response to someone being upset by comments (usually mean/vindictive) about how “boring” or “messy” or, yes even “stupid” their posts were. I mean really. As in your example, not only would I never expect the host to insult a guest, I certainly wouldn’t expect a guest to start insulting the host (“can you believe how bad this food is?” or “they really have no taste and no idea on how to decorate do they?”) so, I’ve been on that “it’s your blog” soapbox just to say that commenters need not stay and comment if they don’t like the posted materials.
    I fortunately have not been witness to people-bashing directly in a post. Just by commenters. (I’ve actually had someone tell me that a pair of shoes that I posted a picture of – b/c I loved them so much – were the ugliest shoes they had seen and that they couldn’t believe I thought they were cute. Of course, they posted it anonymously. . . .
    Why can’t we all just get along or move along?

  211. Here here! I don’t just assume that any subject of my blog might read it, I assume that anyone, anywhere might read it including future employers, old lost friends and friends to be. I try to imagine myself reading someone else’s blog with what I’m writing and trying to imagine how I would judge them if, for instance, I were going to meet up with them at an event, or hire them to work in my office. There is a time and place for a little bit of self indulging cattiness between friends but I don’t think the world wide web is that place, at any time.
    Thanks for saying what many of us think. 🙂

  212. Yeesh! I felt a bit bad when I gently said I didn’t care for the pink acrylic I found in the bottom of a bag of Lopi I bought at a second-hand store. Writing something bad about a real, live person? I couldn’t even imagine!

  213. When one thinks about it, the nasty remarks some blog writers/commenters think are so ” honest & and if you don’t like it delete the crap ” say much more about them then they themselves ever could say about anyone else.
    Thinking of it, this why I pity them……and I don’t necessarily believe in ” if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all “…. for me that’s the other extreme……..
    I wrote something similar once to a ” nasty but proud ” remark of one of those ” I am only honest and don’t care what you think ” people and was accused of ” Spiritual Psycho Babble “.
    That is when I decided that nasty & negative people will always be like that ….nasty and negative……and I no longer waste time and energy on them……there are far more friendly, funny and gifted blog writers out there…..you know who you are…..
    Thank you…….
    Mexico City

  214. Bravo, bravo, bravo. Clapping loudly. I don’t blog, my life is just not that interesting….hectic, but not interesting…
    I don’t read a lot of blogs. I have a few faves. that I visit daily, or several times a day to read comments. I have only been to one or two where I went WHOA….outta here. It’s a shame really.
    Thank you Steph for a well put and thoughtful reminder.

  215. I know about a few of the parties to whom you allude. I used to enjoy their blogs up to a point, but the latest installments have made me angry and I have stopped reading them completely. There is no excuse for that kind of nastiness described as “honesty”.
    I consider myself honest, and I’m often blunt to a fault. I would not intentionally hurt someone else’s feelings. If I have, it’s only because I’ve opened my mouth to change feet.

  216. There’s one particular knitting blog that may be one to which you’re referring, as it certainly fits the description. I’m absolutely certain it has been referred to in the comments here. In this case, I have not only stopped reading the blog, but I’ve have vowed never to buy that blogger’s yarn or other products.
    The sad part about this is that the yarn isn’t bad at all. The reason I won’t buy from her is that I’m not prepared to deal with her if there’s ever any sort of problem or disagreement about something I bought. If she’s so virulent, and so willing to provoke the virulence of others, about minor issues, like who gets contracts with publishers, what’s she going to be like if there’s an actual disagreement over a transaction? I have no intention of ever finding out, so I just don’t buy from her.

  217. I really, really hope that this is just general discussion and not a reflection on an actual event. All the blogs I read are nice, uplifting and knit inspiring so if it is a real event, I’m glad I didn’t see it.
    It all comes down to the Golden Rule. Doesn’t everything though?

  218. I read lots of knitting blogs and often I post a comment. I didn’t know about any of this nasty negative stuff that apparently goes on in blogland. Where have I been? I have a website where I post my art and I do a bit of writing there too, and my students at school all read it, and look at my pictures. I keep them foremost in my mind when writing. I just don’t understand people being mean to each other.

  219. Yikes! Luckily, I haven’t come across any of this (at least not yet)…it would make me very sad to do so.

  220. Yikes! Luckily, I haven’t come across any of this (at least not yet)…it would make me very sad to do so.

  221. Yikes! Luckily, I haven’t come across any of this (at least not yet)…it would make me very sad to do so.

  222. It’s funny when blog topics and breakfast reading topics coincide. This seperation people get when online, where you perceive yourself differently because of the ‘cloak’ of the internet, is found in many different situations, like the darkness of night-time, or at halloween, or even becoming drunk. All of a sudden social rules that are concerned with not being a flaming jerk go right out the window- and in the case of blogs/email/texting, situations can get worse due to people trying to be sarcastic (hard to do with plain text) and because the person attacked retaliates with the same seperate-ness. Sometimes I write blog entries only to sit back and realize ‘this in not okay’ and I have to delete it and find a way to express myself that isn’t going to violate standards of kindness. I’m very opinated about topics that a lot of people don’t see eye to eye with me, but I make sure that what I write is something I would say to them in their own living room because it is something I can say without losing respect for myself, or having them lose respect for me. That is one of the reasons I enjoy your blog so much, is because you are opinated and passionate without being nasty or rude. Well, I mean this blog entry is a perfect example. You can disagree with people and have a complete opposite view from them, and you can voice that view without being malicious. It’s called being able to back up what you say with credibility and sense. It’s something that a lot of bloggers who complain that they don’t have the readership they want could learn from. Woolly kudos to Stephanie!

  223. It’s funny when blog topics and breakfast reading topics coincide. This seperation people get when online, where you perceive yourself differently because of the ‘cloak’ of the internet, is found in many different situations, like the darkness of night-time, or at halloween, or even becoming drunk. All of a sudden social rules that are concerned with not being a flaming jerk go right out the window- and in the case of blogs/email/texting, situations can get worse due to people trying to be sarcastic (hard to do with plain text) and because the person attacked retaliates with the same seperate-ness. Sometimes I write blog entries only to sit back and realize ‘this in not okay’ and I have to delete it and find a way to express myself that isn’t going to violate standards of kindness. I’m very opinated about topics that a lot of people don’t see eye to eye with me, but I make sure that what I write is something I would say to them in their own living room because it is something I can say without losing respect for myself, or having them lose respect for me. That is one of the reasons I enjoy your blog so much, is because you are opinated and passionate without being nasty or rude. Well, I mean this blog entry is a perfect example. You can disagree with people and have a complete opposite view from them, and you can voice that view without being malicious. It’s called being able to back up what you say with credibility and sense. It’s something that a lot of bloggers who complain that they don’t have the readership they want could learn from. Woolly kudos to Stephanie!

  224. Hear, hear from me, too. I personally am puzzled by some bloggers who, while not explicitly writing hurtful things themselves, INVITE mean remarks in their comments. And some of those comments get needlessly mean, indeed. Kinda reminds me of middle school, and those 3-way phone conversations you hear about amongst the “mean girls” where one innocent is invited to hear other girls say horrible things about her while not knowing she is listening. Good for you for pointing this out.

  225. We all know how the internet has changed knitting for the individual. What is often not considered is how the internet affects knitting as a business. Gossip is rampant at most snb’s I’ve been to, but blog gossip is especially harmful. Many bloggers talk about their LYS or favorite website with affection, but one knotty skien or bad needle join can mean endless bad press. And, God forbid, the owner or employee is even slightly rude, or can’t give you the attention you were hoping for! This is really obvious when knitters go on vacation. We think that because we’ll never have go to Snobby McCashmere’s or Acrylic Oasis again, we are free to rant on and on about an LYS’s poor color choices, their ugly sign or lame music. We don’t realize that LYS owners read blogs too, and so do their customers. Should we alert other knitters to what we perceive is a bad product, or bad service? I’m not sure. Honestly, I struggle with this. LYS success depends on reputation and word-of-mouth; sometimes a bad reputation is deserved. But usually, people deserve a second chance, or at least a second look.

  226. Part of me wants to know which blog (or blogs) it is where this rudeness has occurred. A stupid sentiment I’m sure. I wouldn’t go there to write a mean comment, but I would use that link as a jumping off point to a blog I probably don’t know who at the very least is as witty and full of pictures as mine (my blog lowballs in the pictures department).

  227. Amen, sistah! 🙂 Very well said, and a kind, gentle reminder. I know of several bloggers who have left the ring because of unkind acts or rather unkind words, and it really isn’t an issue of ignoring what others say about you, but rather, why put yourself in the position? Meaness is just meanness, no matter how one attempts to justify those actions.

  228. Stephanie, that was beautiful.
    Isn’t it weird that people who would never do something unseemly in public (nose-picking, let’s say, or bottom-scratching) will get on the very public forum of a blog and display a far, far uglier side of themselves?
    Thanks for the reminder to us all.

  229. thanks.
    i was a “susan” once, (and so was my friend susan!)and it wasn’t any fun. especially since the blogger was known (and read) by several Real Life Friends!)
    i’m some what thick skinned. (literarlly and figuratively) and the person who did it, didn’t, i beleive, do it with malace (it was more a case of her being a bit sensative,high strun sort, and she blundered..)
    she eventually delete the whole blog.. and mended her ways, (and has since gone out of her way to be nice to me.)
    You garner thousands of readers, and hundreds of comments–(some of us bloggers are thrilled with 50 people reading on a good day!)
    sometimes i do feel no one is listening.. –and somedays i care (most of the time i don’t!)
    we forget there are live mikes at the party, and we speak out– not thinking of what that we might close to one of them and broadcasting!
    I am not perfect, and while i don’t think i have been guilty of this particular offence, well, i am quite capable of being a bit of bull in a china shop, and I try to forgive those who use their blogs to trespass against me.. (and pray to be forgiven when, blunding, i might do the same)

  230. This is why my blog is listed as “private” and only those whom I send the address to are allowed to read it…all TWO of them. And they know this is a highly personal place. Cause yes, I write about my knitting, but I also cover personal issues, and I don’t want Mrs. Nosey Pants down the street knowing THAT much about me. ANd this way, I’m perfectly able to rip on Mrs. Nosey Pants and she’ll never find out. *evil grin* Used as a diary of sorts, it’s been an invaluable resource of the kids’ health and household issues. Blog on…but mindfully. Our world is rapidly approaching small-town status.

  231. Wow, when I miss stuff, I don’t fool around. A week without a computer and I miss Alaska, your birthday (twice) and some Donnybrook. What the heck happened? Give me a sharpened stick and send me in! (Oh. Wait. Whatever I lack, it isn’t sharpened sticks….)
    Slow down — I’m still in California with limited internet access and an imported e-mail account which mostly doesn’t. If much more happens I’ll have to give up and enter a convent — with dial-up.

  232. I can’t stand reading someone’s blog when they are just downright mean. Especially when describing another knitter’s project. Sure the pattern could be better written, the chart may have a mistake or the final FO didn’t turn out correct for you- but that knitter put all their effort into your pattern, and sometimes all their effort isn’t perfect (just like the rest of us). And the beauty of yarn is that it can be ripped, re-knit and re-transformed into something you DO like. So blog about what changes you’d make, or link to the errata- but stop being mean already!

  233. Wow! Just read this quickly before rushing to work (must be there in 20 minutes, so I’m looking forward to reading the comments later–I’m sure there are many thought-provoking ones) and I say “bravo”, Stephanie! To be honest, I am one of those “Gosh, why can’t everyone just be polite and get along?” people, even though I realize that the world really doesn’t work that way all the time. I also realize that there are a few people who hide behind the mask of “honesty”, and use it to say rude and/or hurtful things to or about others. However, there are some basic rules of civilization, and I believe that one of them (I’m sure this point could be argued extensively) is that, even when we don’t agree with others’ opinions, or their choice in yarn, there are ways to articulate those differences in opinion without being offensive. As for character flaws, I’m probably a little archaic in my thinking here, but here goes anyway. We all have them. I just don’t understand the need to point them out so vociferously, and doing so publicly is even less kind. Thank you for shedding light on a delicate topic with your usual tact, grace, and elegance.

    Something about the internet – not sure what – inspires some of us to drop our gloves as if we’re clearing the benches at a hockey game.
    I know exactly how it feels when the social gloves come off. I was 13 and in junior high. Are we STILL in stinking junior high? AAAUGH!
    It’s probably a good thing I don’t know any effective curses.

  235. I think part of the reason I have a hard time keeping my blog updated is BECAUSE I know that it’s so public. I have an online diary at http://www.opendiary.com that is open to limited public access, and I write in that quite frequently. I know who is reading my diary most of the time, and when I’m writing entries that are more public I’m very careful about the content. It’s difficult for me to write in my blog because it is so public, and I’m not sure I can write one entry that is “safe”, if that makes sense.
    I don’t go to block parties, either.

  236. Well said! I have no idea what brought it on (I never sat with the cool kids at lunch either) but you put it very well.
    Hope whatever it was goes away. I like you.

  237. Wow. Sounds like you have run into some not-very-nice people. I’m sorry to hear that (and I’m not naive enough to think they don’t exist, or that it’s ‘just you’). Unfortunately, it has been my experience that when you address a group of people to lecture a few, the few never think you’re talking about them 🙁

  238. Glass houses still exist – none of us are above forgetting that.
    One would hope that humanity would work harder to be *good* to each other…even above ourselves if need be. For example:
    1) Say a nice word to the checkout lady.
    2) Don’t snap at the waitress if your meal is wrong – maybe even eat it and be grateful for your bounty. Everyone makes mistakes!
    3) Smile at someone in the car beside you at the next stoplight. (funny how a smile really makes people uncomfortable!)
    4) See a homeless guy next to a fast food store? Take a couple minutes, swing in and buy him a meal – then drop it off to him as you drive by. Who cares if he’s a fraud. Your act of kindness might impact someone watching you.
    5) Let a struggling mom with fussing kids go in front of you at a cash register.
    6) Volunteer to help someone with a heavy load in their arms.
    7) Someone short of money at the coffee store? Make up the difference for them.
    As we knit and give our work away, the next level is always waiting –
    Nice words, Steph.

  239. I love reading your blog. I love your info on your trip to Alaska. What a great group of knitters their. Man,,I would love the days being so long..although I’m sure it was hard to sleep..Thanks for the info and photos. Rowena

  240. I have used MySpace but just recently (I mean literally, like, minutes ago) moved to a different host. I am not looking to have my every single thought vivsected by the general public, but at the same time I know I am opening myself to a lot more scrutiny than I will ever realize. So, names, except my own, are not mentioned, and I follow the creed to “do no harm”.

  241. Yes…you are very right–and very right to remind us. I know when I am angry, I will sometimes rant on the blog–usually about non-bloggers (I’m one of two actual bloggers I know in person…weird). It has always come back to bite me, and I am learning. (I recognize I’m not always a good person, but that’s not always a side of yourself you want out in public.)

  242. AMEN!
    I love reading your blog. It’s like listening to an old friend.
    Having said that I finally have read Knitting Rules (I’ve owned it forever, just started vacation so had some time to read) and thank you for the laughs and great advice. AND I’m almost done the first sock for ME!!!!! I suspect that I’ve begun a slippery slope as I ran out to purchase more sock yarn (but that doesn’t count, right??)
    And if I were in Alaska right now, I’d never sleep. I’d knit 24/7!

  243. Dear Steph,
    Completely off-topic *but* are you done with your book tour for the summer or will you be adding dates and locations?
    Shameless Plug: Iowa’s very lovely in the summer. It doesn’t stay light all night like Alaska but if you drink enough beer you can see the back of your eye-lids (. . . perhaps that’s not unique to Iowa) . . . anyhow, we also have a number of very lovely LYS.
    In the name of wool and all things holy, your friend,

  244. Yep. I have come across some of this. I shake my head and try to move on from it. I have different feelings ranging from sad, disgusted, ill, bored, or dirty. I think I am going to try and evict this topic from my brain for now because I am not up for it. I will try to knit a few stitches or make some yarn with the drop spindle. It will be more productive, and may help me feel better.

  245. For the first time, I am very happy that nobody reads my blog!! (tongue-in-cheek-mode off)
    I like when you use your powers for good.

  246. First off I want to say that it was through your first book that I came to the world of internet blogs. I find your writing both laugh out loud amusing and incredibily thought provoking, all without speaking an unkind word about anyone. In fact, you have promoted many other bloggers, businesses, charities and just people and places in general that have interested you and then kindly shared these experiences through your writings with others like myself, who neither have the energy or talent to live the exciting life you lead and then express it so eloquently. The internet, for me, has been a wonderful way to keep in touch with the world outside of my apartment as due to poor health I am frequently housebound. Knitting and reading both bring me incredible happiness,however, when I encounter negativity on a mean and spiteful level it brings me down, sort of a soul crushing experience, so to speak. Unfortunately,I know of the bloggers of whom you speak,because when I first started out on the computer I joined a few Yahoo groups and learned just how quickly gossip travels on the internet. My belief is that everytime a human being either utters or writes a hurtful remark, all of humanity is somehow lessened by this negativity and mean spiritedness. I know that many people see me as some kind of Pollyanna, but I feel that life itself is full of so many trials and tribulations, that we don’t need someone else’s unkind criticisms to add to our burdens. Like Jewel sang in one of her songs(don’t quote me though) “in the end, only kindness matters”. Amen to that I say, and bless you for sharing your wit and wisdom in such a positive manner. Knit on through all that life throws at you, you’re doing an excellent job !

  247. I am thankful that I haven’t seen what you are talking about. That said, I’m glad that someone of your knitting community clout will stand up and say something about it.

  248. Speaking from the personal experience of the asshat who typed her way into a bad predicament, I know exactly what you mean. The people typed about will find the writer. If you’re lucky, they are not your roommate for another month. If you’re unlucky (i.e. me) they are your roommate for another month.
    So yeah, Miss Yarn Harlot, you are spot on with your editorial. I only wish it wasn’t over a year too late for me. Sigh. Well, I know now!

  249. I agree with you completely and have my own way for dealing with those individuals who have opinions which disturb or upset me – I delete them from my listing of blogs to read. This has happened several times – and I believe myself to be a very tolerant person.

  250. Thanks for using your influence to remind us all to play nice. Sadly, though, it’s probably a bit like preaching to the choir. Still — this will be discussed.
    The other caution worth remembering is that even legitimately critical comments can be taken out of context, just like the “Post Office” game (or is it “Operator”? Am I dating myself??) Bottom line, another good rule of thumb is to sit on a draft of a potentially inflammatory post/e-mail/reply overnight before sending it. It’s hard to “unring the bell.”

  251. Dude. I guess I’ll just be glad I didn’t read whatever was written. You rock, Stephanie. You are a rare and wonderful person. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.
    And barbinvic, I am with you all the way! Why can’t people just be considerate and polite to each other? That isn’t dishonest, it’s civilized. I happen to like civilization.

  252. I don’t think humans have evolved to the point where they understand on a gut level that their car or their computer is not their castle and they behave as if a make-my-day law protects them from their crappy behavior when in these private-appearing public places (wonder if that is why people are so oblivious with their cell phones in public? — as soon as they turn on a phone they think a magical cone of privacy is formed around them).
    People need to understand that their rights are not infinite. Any society must balance private rights with other considerations like nuisance, libel, & slander laws. Gee, it is also your right to listen to loud music in your own space but unless you live on 10 acres in the middle of nowhere you might be violating someone else’s right to quiet enjoyment of their space. You are publishing your words on a blog, however limited you think your audience is, so make sure your comments are true and if not kind at least not harmful to someone’s reputation and/or livelihood.
    I loved the comment about giving your blog address to your mom, that might pull some people up short.

  253. I can’t say I agree with the pairing of “mean” and “troubled”. They are not necessarily a pair. Some very sane and ‘decent’ people live to snark, especially on the famous and successful. “Nice” isn’t all it’s cracked up to be for some folks, and some of them would definitely deliver their snark right to your face and consider it the decent thing to do.
    Different strokes. Nice and Mean. Cruel to be kind? Kindness that kills?

  254. Ah, found it. The usual suspect, the usual crap. Unusual, though, for her to be attempting to abjure responsibility for what happens at her site — capable of shame?
    How dreary. Let’s knit.

  255. I was just talking to a friend of mine the other day, regarding how the anonymity(sp) of the internet was allowing people to forget basic good manners. In fact, allowing people to believe they have the freedom to behave just as you have described. I find this unfortunate and I do believe as you stated that there is a huge difference between criticism and invective, and if more people would remember that the internet would be a better place.

  256. Excellent post Stephanie, and I love your blog (and your books)!
    It is interesting how people will cite freedom of speech to say nasty, unkind or untruthful things about other people, but they conveniently forget that along with freedom of speech comes responsibility and consequences for what they say.

  257. I see your point. But least we forget that this is a community of women? When things aren’t going right, things like The Wormy Apple, http://wormyapple.blogspot.com/ , and the like will be brought to light. I don’t know about making person attacks about how people look, but in regards to some of the business aspects of knitting/knitting guilds??? Sometimes, a bright light needs to be turned on to problem areas. ESPECIALLY when people are being rail roaded/not listened to when they try to speak in person.
    Just my 2 cents!

  258. Stephanie,
    Crazy that you are speaking about this today. It was just last week I was surfing around some different knitting blogs and ran across one that was giving my podcast a positive review!
    I was so happy that I decided I would leave a comment to say thank you. While I was scrolling through the comments I notice two people had left comments to this blogger referencing my podcast and saying mean and hurtful things about me and my stories.
    Crushed, Shocked and humbled I did leave a message thanking the blogger for the kind review but in my comments I also refrenced the ungly words people said about me and appologized if I had hurt anybodies feelings.
    My husband said exactly what you suggested…if I didn’t want to get hurt I shouldn’t have been reading or moreover, I shouldn’t put myself out there and do a podcast right? But I enjoy the podcast…and I enjoy the blogs…so I continue to do both with the hope that not all people are that rude and careless with their words.
    In the end, I did go and visit one of the blogs of the person who left one of the mean comments and left a very kind comment on one of her post. NOT mentioning the mean thing that she had said about me in the other blog.
    Do you know that the next day this person who had racked me across coals sent me an apology for what she said in a public forum. See Stephanie, there is hope!

  259. I’ve been wondering when/if you were going to speak up about this. I’m glad you did and I’m glad you didn’t leave any links so people could go throw virtual rotten tomatoes at the offenders. It seems like my bloglines subscriptions are shrinking all the time (although I typically find commenters to be worse than blog owners). I dunno if I’m getting crusty or tired but I just don’t have time to read the flaming.

  260. Shame has been vastly under utilized as a means of controlling poor, impolite, unkind and rude behaviour. Thank you for wagging the finger and those who seem not to know that such a thing exists. Let’s bring it back.

  261. Thanks Stephanie, for saying what I’ve been feeling for a few days.
    I’ve read a couple of blogs recently that I will never link to or read again because of just the type of things you are talking about.

  262. Two words-common decency. Somehow it seems to be lacking in day to day discourse, whether on the web or in the store or wherever. People need to remember-these are other human beings who share the planet and that what you want to do at any given moment isn’t necessarily permissible. This is someone’s sister, mother, cousin, friend……My litmus test for anything is: what’s the motivation? Clearly it is to do harm in most of these situations. Thanks-

  263. I just had a discussion about “editing” on my blog last week. Some very interesting comments on that post. I was more concerned with what we leave out, but your post is spot on about what happens when we don;t leave anything out.
    It’s called the milk of human kindness, peeps, and thank goodness most of us have it in abundance.

  264. Thanks for this post. I haven’t stumbled across any of this recently (and am now very curious as to who’s been misbehaving) but I’ve unfortunately seen plenty of it in the past. Very well said, and I hope the thoughtless parties take note.

  265. It just goes to show you that by and large we are a kind loving group we knitters are! Those that want to spoil the party are just going to have to happily go it alone. Everyone is right, when we see this sort of foul play we just don’t read anymore. Stay positive, be a blessing—- absolutely!!!!!!!

  266. 310 comments?!? Wow! Stephanie…you really know how to tap into what our community is thinking about. Excellent post!
    Come on now…if you read all 300+ comments to this post and peruse the commenters’ blogs, I applaud you!

  267. Well said, Stephanie. I find such nastiness distasteful & disconcerting, at best. And when the recipient responds with grace & dignity (cough, Anne of Knitspot, cough, cough), I’m always impressed.

  268. Hear, hear.
    I have been fortunate to be at blog parties where the guests have all been nice recently, but I have seen hateful stuff in the past. Hope all is well with you.

  269. Amen. On the rare occasions when I really want to tell a story involving someone else in a non-flattering light, EVEN IF I KNOW THEY DON’T READ MY BLOG, I never mention his/her name or give enough details to make him/her recognizable even to others who know the individual. Personal attacks are petty and don’t do anything positive for anyone.

  270. The house metaphor is perfect–so many people forget that blogs are an open forum. This is why I NEVER do my laundry about anyone on my blog. If I have a problem with someone, I’ll bitch about it privately, not in front of the whole world.
    A former friend of mine decided to insult me on her blog to the point that she wished me infertile, which really hurt. I take everything she says with a grain of salt (because let’s face it–girl is crazy), but it still hurt to see it in print, for the whole world. It’s so important to keep in mind that everyone–everyone–can read your blog.

  271. Oh, Steph. WELL done. It doesn’t just happen in ‘blogs. My son plays World of Warcraft online and we have had many conversations about just how nasty people get if they think they are anonymous, i.e., hiding behind screen names.
    I love love love the ‘Net, but it does allow people to behave in ways that they would otherwise eschew (do you know hard it is to get the word “eschew” into a sentence?).
    You GO, girl!

  272. Yep. Like the people who are supposedly spreading rumors about me being done with dyeing. How am I not supposed to hear this? Hence the latest posts with me and my honing steel and my Kill Bill colorway. 🙂

  273. Well, aside from the fact that I agree with the 300+ people that have posted before me, my second thought was that my name is Susan, so is someone talking trash about me behind my back? LOL…Love your blog, and your point of view – thank you for your fab words, Stephanie!

  274. I also saw you in Petaluma earlier this month and took to heart all the positive you gave us about knitters as a community. I have bragged about what you said. I stay on the positive side of blogging knitters and will remain so. Those that are rude are the losers in this group.

  275. You say a blog is like a neighborhood party to which everyone is invited. I disagree, for the exact reason of the example you give–no one would dream of inviting someone into their home to insult them.
    What you’re describing is more akin to, say, a barbecue in a public park. Oprah Winfrey could wander up to my barbecue, held on public land, and overhear me say that I thought her show was saccharine. She’d have every right to do so–it’s a public place. But I didn’t force her, or even ask her, to join us. And she’s a public figure, I have an opinion about her even though I haven’t met her. If she asked me why, I’d say why, and maybe would like her more by the end of the conversation. But if she got on her show and said what an awful person I was for my opinion, I’d *really* never watch her show again.
    Assuming the person didn’t send you a link to the post, you walked in on their barbecue.
    I generally blog about topics of pretty low offensiveness, but plenty of people *could* be offended by what I say–in the last month, that could include (checks recent entries) diamond-lovers, opponents of gay marriage, people who don’t like manmade fibers, people who don’t like wool, and the guy who almost ran me over with his car because he wasn’t looking where he was going. I’ve seen you insult non-knitters by calling them “muggles”, and saying that they can’t possibly understand what we’re doing.
    Should we stick entirely to the weather so as not to offend?

  276. Stephanie…I think all the time how wonderful you are to take the time to blog for us…I look forward to it…and miss it when I am waiting for a new posting. What shallow lives some people must have to make nasty comments (or comment on your spelling, I remember the discussion about “misspelled” words (also known as ENGLISH)).
    I was driving around town today and saw a license plate…something to the effect of “nitnsew” no question what that person is interested in…lead me to thinking…yarn harlot license plate holders ? Bumper stickers ? We need something to identify us to other knitters…

  277. It’s funny that you mention blogging as a community. I just joined this little world of knitter/bloggers because I seek just that. It makes me nervous to read that it can apparently be a hurtful place to be. As I know I will never be a high-profile blogger like you are, I don’t know that I have to worry. It just shatters my lovely image of fellow knitters as loving people who don’t have a mean bone in their bodies.
    I guess no world is safe from the bad apples.

  278. Steph-
    Well said, and ditto..
    btw- My tulip baby sweater kit is pre-ordered and it is the first time I have ordered anything from another country, and it makes me feel sort of savvy, eh?!
    Heidi in Idaho
    -who would love to knit you an Idaho dishcloth if you ever visit us here :)I am so there…

  279. Right on Stephanie! Thanks for saying what most of us think but don’t have the eloquent way of putting it into writing.
    Love your blog and books.

  280. Amen to that! I say, whatever happened to paper journals for a person’s private thoughts? (I have one…it’s marvelously cathartic when I need to have an in-journal temper tantrum.)
    I had a “friend” who used to write nasty things about me in her blog. Never used my name, but most of my other friends read it, and you can be sure the knew who she was talking about. Not a fun experience, and not one I’d be keen to inflict on others.
    Good for you, Stephanie, for using your public forum to give others this important reminder. 🙂
    Knit on!
    ~ Sam

  281. I feel truly sorry for anyone pathetic enough to hide behind their computers to say mean spirited things about anyone.
    Can you imagine how unhappy they must truly be?

  282. See, this is why there are women who feel so utterly disconnected.
    Playing kissy, kissy to each others face encourages backstabbing. No thanks, I would rather know how someone feels about me, face to face.

  283. Years ago, there was a computer game of Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and when playing I typed in an expletive in frustration. In a flash the game came back with this comment, all the more potent in white letters on a black screen; Your Words Have Gone Out Across the Universe and DESTROYED an Entire Galaxy, use caution when choosing your words. Then the game shut off.
    My mother told me years ago, the worst thing you can do to someone is, leave them alone.
    That is my philosophy now too.
    I did look at other blogs trying to find one as entertaining and informative as this one. I am sure they are out there in cyberspace but I haven’t found them yet. I did find the sour grapes you may be referring to, but I won’t be back there. That’s not what I choose to read, it isn’t entertaining at all, just mean.

  284. I’ve thought it for ages. I’ve culled by favorites list accordingly. But you said it so blessed well.

  285. As much as I believe in the therapeutic value of venting via one’s blog, there’s that complete lack of confidentiality thing that keeps me coming back to my shrink’s office every two weeks.
    I think I’d be a terrible shrink, myself. I’d be too tempted to come home to my husband every day saying,
    “(gasp) OmigodyouwouldnotevenbelievewhatthatonecreepydudeItoldyouaboutsaidtoday…”
    But I digress. I’m glad you wrote that today. You made an excellent point.
    P.S. You seriously find time to read other people’s blogs? Please write a book about Time Management and Multitasking.
    As soon as possible. Thank you.

  286. Huh. I came here from Redshirt, and Cassidy linked in the comments to the suspected cause, and it just seemed like the typical small-minded cr@p you and other author/designer-knitter-bloggers have had to deal with (although I admit I skimmed, it’s not interesting, so maybe I missed something particularly egregious).
    I have a mixed bag reaction–you shouldn’t even let it waste any emotional time b/c it’s so obviously worthless and below you, but then…One of the reasons we enjoy going out and seeing you, meeting you and reading you is that you’ve never held yourself apart, you’re just like a friend who has something interesting to say in an enjoyable way. And also, I remind myself that just because the person who screamed obscenities and imprecations at me obviously had issues that had little to do with me, I still went home and cried and wasted so much time thinking about what I had done to trigger it, what I should have done…etc. Then got mad at myself for wasting that emotional energy.
    I was thinking about you the other night actually, hoping my copy of _Baby Catcher_ would arrive before I left for my trip. Sigh, no luck on that. Maybe to balance out some of the meanness you can take the love that has poured out in the comments, and know that YOU at least have made positive differences in a lot of women’s lives.

  287. There are several blogs I used to read that I no longer visit because of a tendency towards negativity that I decided I just didn’t need. Sure, every post doesn’t need to make me feel good, but if the majority of them make me feel uncomfortable by mocking or belittling someone else, that is not something I need to expose myself to.
    Besides, isn’t taking snipes at other people what MySpace is for??

  288. Increasingly I come across people doing “private” stuff in public places – and blogging your deepest insecurities about someone’s success, cleverness or family is one of the lowest. Daily I have to deal with people commuting on the bus talking about the most personal issues – sex! eating disorders! – into their cell phones like no one is listening or even within a 10 foot radius. Is it really because people are so disconnected in the world now, one may need to make a provocative statement just to feel like she can be heard in this wilderness? Goodness knows.

  289. Yep. I have to watch what I say sometimes on my own blog. I some times forget that people read it and that if I am having a bad day or someone made me mad I can’t just go off on my blog. Now I would never link to someone elses blog or what ever to point out the person. I also think “What would the Harlot do?” and since you don’t go off and bash people then it must be wrong.
    Thanks for putting this out there.

  290. Oh, yes. Maybe a year ago, I posted something like, “I thought *I* had a lot of UFOs!” and a link to another knitter’s blog, where she’d posted about 10 of them.
    There must have been something telling her I’d linked to her, and she commented on my blog–but kindly and jocularly. I was so embarrassed! Won’t do that again.

  291. I was one of the people who made a rude comment on Cara’s blog. I felt terrible afterwards, because I realized that the podcaster would see it. I emailed her and apologized and I think we are OK. But someone else left a much meaner comment than mine. I hope THAT person apologized. Thanks for pointing it out.

  292. I received what I can only describe as “blogging realated hate email” once. I took it as evidence that there is a real potential for virtual interactions (be it SMS, email or blogging) to allow people to disassociate themselves from their actions- to forget basic cultural standards of politeness and respect for others (noting that these cultural standards do vary significantly from culture to culture!).
    Despite the wonderful things that the internet and technology offer, this seems to be a sad side effect. I sometimes wonder where this side effect will lead, and what sort of world I am bringing my first child into. All I can hope is that I lead them by example- be it on my blog, at the next neighbourhood party, or public BBQ.
    My (Canadian!) mother always told me “if you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say it”. Old fashioned perhaps, but perhaps something that needs to be considered more often.

  293. Thanks Stephanie. When I first started Spindlicity, one particularly popular blogger took it upon themself to tear the magazine down even before it had launched. And they were just plain mean-spirited in their criticism. So before I had even launched the magazine, the first thing that popped up in google was this rant. I cried for a day over that. People don’t realize that tearing others down does not build you up, it lowers you.

  294. Amen, my friend. When I started the new job, I happened to say something to my boss about my blog. He told me, “you should never tell your employer you have a blog.” My response was, “On the contrary, you should never assume that someone can’t FIND your blog.” For that reason, my blog is often very boring. 🙂

  295. I hate that anyone could ever be nasty. But whomever it is that makes nasty comments to anyone, anywhere, about anything, is usually very insecure or has some serious issues in their lives. They obviously feel the need to make up for whatever it is they are lacking. Just consider the source and let it roll off of your duck feathers.
    Thanks for reminding us all that we are human beings and need to be respectful of our fellow human beings.

  296. I hate that anyone could ever be nasty. But whomever it is that makes nasty comments to anyone, anywhere, about anything, is usually very insecure or has some serious issues in their lives. They obviously feel the need to make up for whatever it is they are lacking. Just consider the source and let it roll off of your duck feathers.
    Thanks for reminding us all that we are human beings and need to be respectful of our fellow human beings.

  297. Very well said! Very tactful and diplomatic.
    When are you going to run for office?

  298. Question: is there such a thing as a “blogger’s code of ethics”? Would it be appropriate for one to exist? I’m not suggesting that there be a “police” to monitor blogs and intercept infractions, but rather that certain bloggers should/could advertise themselves as “polite”… What about self proclaimed ratings, like movies? A PG rating might turn some readers away, but would tell all potential visitors: you’re in for a nice friendly family barbecue here, if you’re looking for more action, look elsewhere… But then, maybe the “mean” guys are just the type who like to bother others and wouldn’t stop at that kind of warning… huh… I am in no way suggesting that there should be any authority surveying the blog scene, but yet, if people don’t play nice, there should be ways to get them off the playground so that others can enjoy it, no? I guess the best way to do that is to have a positive leader tell others: “I’m not playing with them anymore, they don’t follow the rules” and that’s just what you’ve done…
    Thanks for your post, it brings an interesting argument to a discussion we were having over lunch the other day…

  299. Wow. That’s sad that you felt you had to write this post. I don’t know what prompted it but I’ve been there. I think we all have in this place called the internet.
    I haven’t read all the 350 posts above mine (this obviously struck a nerve) but I’m sure they include lots of similar stories. Here’s mine. My daughter works in the theatre and, for a time, did some assistant-type work for an actor who, while not a household name, is quite well known in the theatre community. She moderated a message board for the musical this actor is best known for. I can’t tell you how many times she had to deal with people who expressed their negative opinions about this man, the show or certain fans. When asked if they would please refrain from making nasty comments, these posters would insist that 1. they had a right to their opinions and 2. if someone is in the public eye, they have to expect to read negative comments and reviews and they should just get used to it. The fact was, however, this actor would tell my daughter how it hurt to read such negative stuff. So, my daughter would try to make the community understand, look, he’s in the public eye but he’s also human and that maybe the best course of action would be what our Moms used to tell us. If you don’t have something nice to say, just don’t say anything at all.
    Unfortunately, the anonymity of the web, at least where commenting is concerned, allows people to say what they want without accepting responsibility. Ultimately, this is what my daughter would finally say to try to avoid more trouble; if you wouldn’t say it to someone’s face, please don’t say it here.
    Hope this wasn’t too long…added to the numerous comments.

  300. Question: is there such a thing as a “blogger’s code of ethics”? Would it be appropriate for one to exist? I’m not suggesting that there be a “police” to monitor blogs and intercept infractions, but rather that certain bloggers should/could advertise themselves as “polite”… What about self proclaimed ratings, like movies? A PG rating might turn some readers away, but would tell all potential visitors: you’re in for a nice friendly family barbecue here, if you’re looking for more action, look elsewhere… But then, maybe the “mean” guys are just the type who like to bother others and wouldn’t stop at that kind of warning… huh… I am in no way suggesting that there should be any authority surveying the blog scene, but yet, if people don’t play nice, there should be ways to get them off the playground so that others can enjoy it, no? I guess the best way to do that is to have a positive leader tell others: “I’m not playing with them anymore, they don’t follow the rules” and that’s just what you’ve done…
    Thanks for your post, it brings an interesting argument to a discussion we were having over lunch the other day…

  301. I’m just sorry that this post was necessary at all. I have a very simple rule for my blog: would I let my nan read this? If not, then it doesn’t go up.
    My blog is a place to share my knitting and my ideas of knitting and textiles, not my opinions on other people and the world because not everyone will agree with them. The last thing I want to do is hurt someone’s feelings.
    I think the people who post the nastier hurtful comments should just stop for a moment and reflect on how it felt when they last were sprung saying something mean. The memory of the look of pain on the other person’s face should stop them from posting in the end.

  302. SO TRUE and well written. My Mom always said “”If you can’t say something nice about something or someone –DON”T say anything at all. My Dad said “” Your mouth will get you into MORE trouble than anything else you can even imagine in this world.” Most people that have nothing positive to say about others are either trying to make themselves look good or they are very unhappy with their own lives . Still no excuse to berate anyone else . I feel badly for the onws on the receiving end of snide remarks. Maybe they will learn one day hopefully

  303. In French there is a saying that goes “Un de perdu, dix de retrouvés” (one lost, ten found). It never made much sense to me, except maybe when it came to dieting because in that instance I have often lost one pound only to find ten more!
    I never thought I’d ever find another occasion where this saying could aptly apply, but I did today. Last week I purposefully “lost” the blog which (I think) prompted your thought-provoking post today. While reading all the comments here this evening, I easily found ten (and much more) to replace it.
    Thank you and cheers, Stephanie.

  304. This would make a great deal more sense to me–both Steph’s post and the many comments–if it were all a great deal more specific about whatever the transgressions have been, and where they might be found. Personal attack is always odious, and so is gutter language.
    That aside, however, there is such a thing as constructive criticismm. There is a lot of peer pressure to keep it in very short supply.
    I tend to think that we can’t, and shouldn’t, check our taste, our skills, and our intelligence, when we pick up our needles.
    There are some bad, or at least too-quirky-to-bother-with designers out there, which can’t be news to anyone; there are unworkable yarns. There are silly, overpriced accessories that don’t make a difference in how well we knit. Too many of us are sure that collecting endless stuff, preferably expensive stuff, with which to knit ratifies us as knitters, when that is not so. Willingness to learn, and to build on what we’ve learned, does that.
    There are Next New Things that remind us all that sometimes the reason there’s never been anything like that new product, new yarn, or new design may be that it was that the New Thing is useless, or was a bad idea, or doesn’t work, or because it all comes together to be unbecoming to all but the most willowy and youthful of standardized figures and maybe not even that.
    There are companies that publish pattern after pattern with errors in them (as witness Steph’s trial with a recent sweater). They deserve public criticism.
    There are companies that foolishly convert sweaters, such as Fair Isles and Norwegian jacquards, that have traditionally been worked in the round, into nearly impossible back-and-forth instructions with endless sewing. Shouldn’t we tell them how silly it is to make something much harder than it ought to be?
    We have publishers who show a given design in all sizes; many of those suits-all designs are unbecoming to larger women. Can’t we be better off to suggest that the lines and yarns appropriate to one’s figure type–whatever it might be–behave better uses than pretending that what looks great on a size 6 might not look just as good on a size 20, or that what becomes a size 20 might not look as good on a size 6?
    Can we begin to admit that there is a kind of knitting that gives knitting a bad name?
    To bring this to attention is not to criticize a person; it is not an attack. It is a criticism of some person or company that has willingly entered this marketplace. The designer, the company, and the customers all benefit from feedback; we shouldn’t get out there if we can’t take it, and this applies, as well, to bloggers.
    It was in Snow White, a Walt Disney animated fairy tale–of, I believe, 1938–in which the advice was given that if you didn’t have anything nice to say, you shouldn’t say anything at all. It is the kind of advice that says, “Shut up!” to women, always did, and always will.
    Alice Roosevelt Longworth, the daughter of Teddy Roosevelt, and the widow of a speaker of the US House of Representatives, had a needlepoint cushion that said, “If you haven’t got anything nice to say about someone, come sit next to me.” She was a charmer, and distinctly not bad-mannered, just outspoken, and very funny. She always, for instance, hand-wrote thank you notes within 24 hours, in dark blue ink on engraved fold-over cards, which is probably better than most of us do.
    We are, for the most part, not in high school any more. If there are specifics that warrant this kind of sensitivity, de-fuse them by saying what they are, but let’s not simultaneously deplore bad behavior and assert our own virtue in this matter. At least not without specifics.

  305. I belong to a physician group called sermo. On that site I posted a case this past weekend, looking for intelligent dialogue. Some of that was there. There was also someone calling me a “poster child for antibiotic misuse.” Nice, huh?
    So clearly it not just knitters who can be mean, it’s MDs too.

  306. Stephanie, when i grow up i want to be as classy as you (and that’s saying something… i just discovered we are almost the same age!). There’s no way i could have spoken about this topic without pointing out the offender, that you were able to do it just reeks of class. I hope that i always keep this post in mind when i blog.
    On another note… WOW there are a lot of knitting bloggers that I didn’t know about yet! See all the above posters…. Whew! 🙂

  307. My favourite is when somebody badmouths something on a person’s site (say, a pattern, picture or whatever) somewhere on the internet, and then has the gall to actually hotlink the image they’re talking about… not only is that rude, but very stupid, as it guarantees the person being badmouthed is going to see the nastiness when they go through their referral stats.

  308. I have never commented on a blog before, but I just had to comment about what you wrote today.
    Well said, Stephanie.
    Several knitting friends and I were talking about the subject you commented on today. We were all very angry about the mean spirited comments we have found on several blogs lately. We wanted to respond but couldn’t quite figure out how without lowering ourselves to those people’s level.
    You managed to respond in a truly eloquent way. Guess what? We weren’t surprised because you have a gift for responding to difficult or emotional or tragic events with just the right words. You are a good person.

  309. Brava, Stephanie. That was a “rare and handy” post with which I completely concur. Good for you to calling her on this. She’s been getting away with her venomous comments for way too long. It’s about time someone called her on it.

  310. Thank you for this post. Unfortunately I have been the victim of such a post. Sadly, the person who felt free to write about me (using my name no less) would have also had no problem doing the same thing to me in person. Thank you again.

  311. Oh dear, it sounds like someone’s been sounding off in a very nasty way. If we knew who it was, and I obviously don’t as it isn’t one of the three or four bloggers I read, we could all chastise him/her. We have the power! Harlot, we think the world of you.

  312. Well said. I actually deleted one blog from my list when I read something I didn’t like about another one of my favorite bloggers. If people want to say mean things about other people then they should buy a notebook and pen and keep a private diary. Blogs are public domains and are out there for other people to read. Once it’s in print, it’s pretty hard for people to forget something they’ve read.

  313. I’ve already posted on this topic, but I was reminded by a friend about another (very funny) blog incident…
    An ex-boyfriend had a very nasty sister-in-law who decided to criticise both him and myself on her blog. What she forgot is that the internet can be read by all. A group of us kept reading her comments for *months* – the post after a party was especially vicious. Eventually, one of our group could no longer stand the nastiness nor the underlying hypocrisy in her comments and posted back, pointing out all of her previously unmentioned flaws. Unfortunately, as he didn’t have a blog, it was listed as anonymous and the repercussions were terrible – my ex-boyfriend was accused of being the poster and relationships with his brother have never been the same since.
    As for the blogger learning her lesson – no such luck. She merely password protected her website, so only people she liked could access it.
    Cie la vie…

  314. Brava!! While my most recent experience with this kind of vitriol was on an email list, not a blog, it was still hurtful and stressful for a number of people.
    Thank you for showing us that being funny can still be fun for everyone involved. It’s bad enough, IMO, that there are shock jocks on the airwaves. I’ll do the same thing with blogs I do with radios – change the channel.

  315. Ah, two important golden rules:
    Never record anything you don’t want in existence for ever (and ever).
    Behave as if you are on camera and everyone can see you.

  316. The very first time I used someone’s first and last name on my blog, he found it within 24 hours. Thankfully I was saying something nice, but you’re right: people know what you’re saying! That’s the whole point!

  317. I missed something big. You remind me of cross between Emily Post and Erma Bombeck. I loved them dearly and I hope you at least like them. I do mean this to be nice:) I’m picturing a neighborhood party, a couple of beers and the microphone…

  318. Another person delurking to say thank you for bringing up this topic and addressing it with class. It’s too easy to hit “publish” without thinking twice if what’s written will hurt someone.

  319. Eee-yipes! That is a real shame that people treat each other this way – I know there are a lot of inequalities in this world we can do little about, but this one is easy to solve.
    I have had the good fortune to only encounter one or two embittered bloggers, and I just haven’t returned (although, get this – I have felt badly over that! talk about overly polite)
    Thanks for so succinctly putting blogs/comments in perspective.

  320. Thank you for standing up on the side of civility. Yes, my Mom said what everyone elses Mom said, but once when I was worrying out loud how to get along with a difficult coworker she said “You don’t have to marry them, just be civil.” And she was right. As for ethics standards, I think some people see rules as somthing fun to break. I believe setting a tone or climate of decent behavior shows bad behavior even more starkly, and for what is, just wrong. I applaud you eloquently addressing this.

  321. So well-said, Steph! And I’m so happy I don’t read those blogs, or I would know who/what you’re talking about.
    Be nice or be quiet, I tell my kids every day. The mean words are like the feathers from a ripped open pillow. Once they are out there in the wind, it’s impossible to gather them back and stuff them into the pillow again.

  322. Oh dear. I have been known to stick my size 8.5 foot in my mouth from time to time, but never intentionally.

  323. You’re right. I learned the hard way there are some people I just can’t write about anymore, because there is just too much pain involved. I wish I could just get them out of my head and make the pain go away.

  324. Here! Here to that!!! Thank you! Comes right down to – you are in public, and just like being in the mall or restaurant you can look around but you don’t know who is listening(reading in the blog case).
    Thank you Again

  325. You know, I completely agree with you on this issue. And your comment about “I’m not mean, I’m just honest” is one that I hear a lot where I live. It’s always irked me to the point of anger and is one of my biggest pet peeves. I mean really, have a little bloody respect! I wish I could tell them that while they feel they are being honest, they are completely lacking the social graces of tact and common courtesy…Grrr…
    You see a lot of these behaviours on Facebook in some of the groups (that I’ve left, I might add). Why the hell do people think that whoever they are talking about won’t see the post eventually? Moreover, why would somebody think that it’s okay to put something like that up on the net just because they are protected by a computer screen? I won’t even get into the whole issue of future employers or current employers seeing the awful things that someone has written online. I hope whoever you are referring to grows up and starts respecting the people around them a little more.

  326. Have I mentioned you’re a really good role model for my teenager? I’m bringing extra chocolate the next time we see you.

  327. Boy are you right about this topic. I made the mistake of saying something in my very first post (it’s not there anymore) thinking nobody I was talking about would see it because I hadn’t told anyone about it. WRONG! I really hurt someone’s feelings. It wasn’t about her; it was about someone else. But she’s the “boss” of the organization and she was very, very, VERY upset that I didn’t just go to her with my fury. We talked it out; I took down the blog; I’ll be more careful not to be passive/aggressive in the future. Thanks, Stephanie, for being bold and honest enough to say it like it is.
    WE ARE NOT ALONE. Everyone IS listening. We are not being paranoid.

  328. Folks who are publicly destructive to others, just because “they can”, only diminish themselves. They give up a bit of their own humanity through such cruel and usually unnecessary rants. Sometimes I think that some people really enjoy being outrageous – think it’s smart or cool. It’s not – it’s just silly & destructive behavior. Sad, really. JMHO….

  329. Rats. I’ve come to the knitting blog community from media fandom (fans of TV shows, books and movies who discuss them and write fan fiction about them), and it’s been such a relief to find a kinder, gentler place to be online. Fandom is so crazily competitive, argumentative, and just downright exhausting compared to the atmosphere of excited encouragement (no one competes over whose FO is “better” the way writers comepete [back-handedly] over stories), that it’s sad to see the same kind of sniping going on here too. And just when I was bragging to fandom friends how nice knitbloggers were!

  330. THANK YOU Stephanie, for your usual class and discretion on such a matter. It urgently needed to be said.
    I think most bloggers AND commenters would benefit from a short course in the basics of journalism, to wit:
    1. A blog is a publication, and the writer is the editor AND publisher. Yes, you can say what you want in terms of opinion, but learn what your responsibilities are. With freedom of the press comes a certain amount of responsibilty.
    2. There is more to this than simply being kind and having manners. You can open yourself to libel and slander if you flap your trap like you are in private when you are not. Anything communicated to a third party is considered “published.”
    3. Some bloggers (and commenters) write as if they don’t know the difference between a public figure and a private person. If a blogger calls Paris Hilton a “stupid, spoiled little floozie” … well … ahem … Paris Hilton IS a public figure, and thus is open to those sort of barbs … AND … TRUTH is defense to libel. It is difficult for a foolish, rich, pouting Hollywood sex kitten to prove that she is NOT a stupid, spoiled, little floozie.
    If, however, you are jealous of blogger Suzie Garterstitch over there in New York City because she has more readers than you, and lots of money for expensive yarn, but she isn’t a very adventurous knitter OR a very skilled writer … and then you write on your own blog, “It’s not fair! Suzie Garterstitch has lots of readers and all that expensive yarn and she’s just a stupid, spoiled, slut who doesn’t deserve it!”
    Well. You’ve just opened yourself to a lawsuit. Suzie Garterstitch may have a published blog, but her name is NOT a household word, and her blog only gets about 100 hits a day, so she is not a public figure. She may simply be a poor typist, and not stupid at all. She may work hard for the money to buy all that glitzy yarn. She may knit only in garter stitch, but do it very well. And she may be a person of the most discreet sexual habits.
    So, you will most likely pay damages to Suzie, if she sues you for calling her those things.
    There are all sorts of good journalism resources online. Bloggers who don’t have a journalism background should find these resources and take them seriously.
    On my own blog, I keep to knitting as home base, but I sometimes vent about politics or the daily grind. I only invoke the “it’s my blog” defense when I stray off topic. Nobody is paying me to blog — I blog because I enjoy it and because writing is cathartic for me. So if you’re disappointed because today’s post is about fishing instead of knitting, well, “it’s my blog,” and I felt like writing about fishing today … but I hope you’ll come back tomorrow, and maybe I’ll talk about knitting then.
    Oh and? What Steph said.

  331. Wow… Add me to the list of people who missed it. But I completely agree with you. I am very aware that anyone can read whatever I post on the internet and assume that the people I’m talking about *will* read it.
    I have to say, that the reason people are so surprised when you say you read their blog, is a sheer numbers game. Yes, we read your blog, and we know you read other blogs, but seriously, think about it. There are hundreds and hundreds of replies to almost all of your posts, and most of those people have a blog. That’s at least a thousand knit bloggers who read your blog. There’s no way I believe you are keeping up with 1000 blogs.
    I still have dreams that you are reading mine though, if only because I want to spread the word about the freaky knitted brain. Seriously, weirder/cooler than the giant glove.

  332. Sorry this happened to my fave knitter/writer, Stephanie.
    Looked at the blog of who I thought it was & sure enough ….
    I’ve only read it once before (by accident) & the aggression there turned my stomach.
    Jealousy is a cruel & bitter affliction.
    Thank-you for all you do to assist knitters & promote the industry of knitting.
    Know that you are loved & supported, appreciated & admired.
    [Swatches do lie.]
    — Aussie Jay

  333. When I was a pre-teen and the girls in my class were passing notes about someone in our class my mother told me, “Never put into writing what you wouldn’t be willing to read aloud in the town square IN FRONT OF your grandmother! A lesson I’ve never forgotten or strayed from.

  334. I missed the “stimulus” post, but enjoyed your “response.” At my blog, I pre-blocked one potential troublemaker who may not even know I have a blog. But I try not to say nasty things about him anyway.
    I do have evidence that the least likely people from your past can pop up and post a comment… so I try to keep it fair and entertaining for everybody. If it won’t stand up in court, don’t post it. 🙂

  335. So beautifully put.
    First, I can almost guarantee that my blog is not one that you frequent. I’ve read your first two books and know your opinion of crochet….and I totally forgive you ’cause you rock! In fact, I wrote you a fan note a few weeks back and in my paranoid/egotistical/delusional way I’m thinking “She read it and I offended her!” (For the record, I was emulating your “Dear Designer” bits.)
    Anyhoo, people will say almost anything via the ‘net. That’s why I am just soooo happy that my school allows parents to evaluate/leave comments about their child’s teachers via the ‘net. It is, of course, anonymous. As a teacher I just love reading the rude, mean and vicious comments about me (because my admins think it will help us grow as teachers.) It really makes me feel like a great person.
    *ahem*, sorry. I digress…
    There are people behind every blog. Too bad some can’t remember this. I self-edit all the time. My blog is not my diary. It’s more like a scrapbook that I share with anyone who stops by. It’s a small world and the person who stops by today, may know the person I’m ripping apart. So I avoid it. Period.

  336. You are so well-spoken in your writing. I love reading your blog and I think that even if it weren’t about knitting I would still enjoy it. It’s easy reading and I’m glad you do it. Thank you!

  337. This is why the “protected post” or “private post” function is available. I know it’s not in a lot of blogs and stuff, but still, it’s a good point. Blogs are like… a giant soapbox on the corner of the street, whatever you say on them, can be heard down the block and back.

  338. Stephanie,
    Funny thing. Carol (the gal from Portland, OR who gave you some of her handspun) and I were at a bookstore drafting our newly dyed wool yarn… and I said that I wanted to know how you managed to remember a few people waiting in line ahead of us at Powell’s… I was going to ask how much you pay your assistants to read the blogs for you, show you the interesting ones for you to actually spend time reading… and how I can sign up for the job?
    Any ideas when you will be accepting applications again? Would ya let me be first in line? huh, huh, huh?? ;o)

  339. Nicely done. A while back I stumbled across the dark, snarky side of knit blogs and questioned whether I wanted to continue with my blog. Then I realized there were many more knit bloggers out there who are like me, who want to share this marvelous creative process of knitting without limitations, and enjoy being a part of this wonderful community.

  340. I don’t always ascribe to the – if you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all, if only because it seems like something meant to shut people up.
    Criticism is sometimes necessary – someone mentioned if a design is pointless, etc. But there is a time and a place. If I don’t like something, and this feeling is strong enough that I’d want to complain, I’ll send a polite email to the company and tell them how I feel. If I’m very upset, I’ll write a letter or call. No reason to be mean or personal.
    I don’t believe in the ‘it’s my blog, and I’ll say what I want’ either. Why hurt someone’s feelings? What benefit do you get from it?
    At any rate, I’m glad that whatever you are talking about is not on any of the many blogs I read.

  341. Well let me tell you a story 🙂
    In college before the internet- Late 80’s -my
    roommate, was just coming back to our place. She remarked that a street guy, perhaps homeless, gave her some unsolicited advice. He didn’t think that her shoes went with her outfit. We both had a huge laugh.
    Perhaps blogging is kind of like getting dressed… Some of us dress to impress, some for ourselves, and some with an eye in-between those two extremes. However, in the end no matter what you wear you still have to go out into public.

  342. Well done. As a communications executive (and knitter) We in the PR world are starting hear about blogging content that demonstrates malicious intent and/or defamation of character coming under more scrutiny by the legal community. The verdict is still out.I’m not surprised, saddened really. Let’s hope it never gets that far.

  343. First, let me say that your comments on Mar’s blog were fabulous, and I love that while the adults are smiling and shaking hands the children are running around hurling the hurtful comments. We could all learn a thing or two from you both.
    Call me lazy, but I can’t bring myself to read through all 400 comments (I made it through about 40) but I wanted to ask this:
    Why has no one mentioned that blogs are, at their heart, diaries? It’s like the moment a blogger gets over 100 subscribers in Bloglines they have to start catering to their readers. I don’t know about anyone else, but I love reading blogs because they DON’T have to cater to me. It’s not like a newspaper where journalists are told to use small words for the general public (seriously, that’s true). I’m reading someone’s thoughts, someone’s diary. At what point did that start having anything at all to do with me?
    Ok, rant over. I’m just so impressed with how both you and Mar have handled this situation, and I think you’re both an inspiration to all of us, bloggers or not.
    Rock on with yo bad self. 🙂

  344. Sad but true – when I read this post, I immediately suspected where the vicious invective may have been coming from, and sho nuff, when I (succumbing to guilty curiosity) took a peek – yep, there it was. I didn’t bother reading any comments, as they tend to be worse than the original posts, but I saw enough.
    I dropped that blog off my list not long ago because I didn’t want to deal with the sneering and negativity I kept finding there. I tend to lack in the “faith in human nature” department enough as it is.
    You, please just keep doing what you’re doing. 🙂

  345. I rarely comment, but read every single post. May I take this opportunity to say, very PUBLICLY, that I LOVE your blog. You are wonderful, laugh-out-loud funny and a true knitting genius! Your blog brings joy to my days. Thank you for sharing your life and knitting adventures with us.
    I can only deduce that someone has trashed you on their blog…? I think your response is eloquent and gracious but certainly puts them in their place. Well done!
    ps: any plans to come on tour to England?

  346. we all agree, it’s good to be polite. it takes so little energy. i think maybe i used to be one of the people you speak of, but i try to not use real names. it doesn’t make it any better, but there it is.
    having said that… i’ve got nothing else. hear, hear!

  347. Wow. I’ve no idea what that was about – and I don’t think I’ll go looking for it. I hope to keep my impression of knitblogs as fun, inspiring, encouraging places to spend some time.
    Well said.

  348. Very well put. I have no idea who you are aiming your post at, but I totally agree with the sentiment. People must remember that Blogs are not diaries; they are public. Heavens, some people have been sacked for writing about work!
    – Pam

  349. I’ve found that such meanness is usually dished out in an effort to make the meanie feel better about themselves and thier own putrid existence. Sadly, I only have enough time to read blogs with lots of pretty pictures. (c: Apparently the blog you speak of doesn’t have pretty pictures. Or a well traveled sock. Pity …

  350. Thank you for making this important point. It should go without saying that people will be nice to each other, or that they would air out their dirty laundry in private, but often, they don’t. Never has ‘because you can doesn’t mean you should’ been more relevant than now, when technology gives us the opportunity to say what we want to say immediately, often without thinking of the consequences.
    My other concern is people revealing secret private information on their blog. If you put up your Social Security Number, Date of Birth, Address… well, somebody you don’t want to find them just might.
    OK, sorry for the rant. It’s a very rant-inspiring topic!

  351. This isn’t about me posting on my blog about my boss who thinks I should be barefoot and pregnant in the kitchen getting him coffee, is it?

  352. I agree so much with you on this. I know that technically you have every right to say exactly what you want in your own blog. But in my opinion you have a responsibility to consider who will read it. Unfortunately I think I may be in the minority on that one, or at least I thought I was … maybe not now considering these comments 🙂

  353. Wow, what blogs have you been reading? No, wait, I don’t want to know. I’ve been rather lucky to avoid any blogs slamming others and would like to keep it that way!

  354. Instead of givng you more ‘atta girls’, (’cause I think that’s covered pretty well.) I just wanna know why you chose the name Susan. Susans are pretty nice people and, although we may have our moments, we wouldn’t be mean on purpose. Really! And this Susan never says anything she wouldn’t say to your face. I’m gonna go burn my red shirts now. (You know I’m kidding…right?)

  355. Well said. I have no idea what brought this on but everyone needs reminding of manners every once in awhile. Blogs are still a new invention and not covered in Emily Post. We’re still sorting out the etiquette but overall, I love the knitting community.

  356. New to blogs here, and new to the knitting/blog scene, so forgive me if this comment sounds insensitive, or unkind. You don’t know me, so it will be hard to ask you to please read this comment in the kind spirit in which it is meant. I just want to ask you to consider a different side of the issue which you addressed in your latest blog. Not knowing the whole “issue” it sounds to me, as if someone wrote something unkind about you or someone you care deeply about on their blog, and then tried to explain away the hurtfulness of it, by saying something like: “if you don’t like it, don’t read it”; “it’s my personal blog, I never meant for you to read about it”, etc. If that is correct, then my comment is this: bottom line is that sometimes, intentionally or unintentionally what people write in their blogs will be very hurtful to others, and that it is the responsibility of the person writing the blog to be willing to accept, to own this fact. And when hurt does happen, to be willing to stand by their words, and not try to cover them up with some lame explanation such as, “if you don’t like it, don’t read it” or, “I never meant for you to read it” or something along those lines- does that sound accurate? I thought it was interesting that rather than say the words, “I don’t like it when you write crap about me or someone I care about” or “What you wrote hurt me a lot” or “What you wrote made me feel like I don’t know you at all” . Instead, you wrote an outline of how someone broke one of the rules of “The Blogging Game”; not unlike an umpire at a sports game, whose job is to make sure that everyone playing “The Blogging Game” follows the same rules. I find that in life, my deepest hurts come from when a person acts or reacts to a situation in a completely unexpected or foreign way to me. (I always expect people to react to things/life coming from the same place I am; playing by the same rules of the game that I am, if you will). But the longer I live, the more I have come to learn that not everyone gets issued the same rule sheet in their version of whatever game we are playing together. That is when hurt happens. If we are to continue our game, that’s the place where we must start; the rules. We must compare our rule sheets, see where the differences and similarities lie, and both decide if we want to continue as is, make new rules, or stop the game altogether. I am sorry that what someone wrote hurt you, or someone you love. Maybe it was intentional, but maybe not. But I ask you to consider that not everyone gets issued the same set of rules. It might be that the other person really didn’t know that they were breaking one of the rules; it might be that they did know. It might be that they broke a rule unintentionally, (or certainly without prudence) and are not sure how to own up to it (yet another rule) and went on the defensive, rather than taking responsibility for their voiced- thoughts, or not. It’s hard to be in that point of a relationship where we discover that someone else is very different than what we thought they were. Thank you.

  357. I know exactly what you mean. The car is also a good example. The (I’m trying to spell manoeuvers but can’t) actions taken by people in a vehicle astound me as they would never do such things in a line or walking.

  358. Hear, hear. There are blogs I won’t read because it seems to me the writers are out to prove how brilliant and witty they are by the skill they show in insulting others. Not only can we all hear you, we can all judge your character for ourselves by what you say, because you expose it in a way we might never see if not for the internet.

  359. I argee 100% with you on that. I certainly don’t like to read blogs where others are being flamed. It’s just not cool.

  360. I have no idea whose blog you read, but I guess I am lucky in that. Our community put out a little newsletter once that was filled with the good things that were happening in the community and ways to protect yourself from being of victim of crime. I was kind of happy with it, thinking it taught some good things and gave people information about local events etc. Well someone came up to me and said, you know I don’t read it, its nothing but Fluff.
    My comment to that was we need a bit more Fluff in life – the evening news is full of the horrors of the world. I read the knitting blogs not to learn of the horrors or nasty things that are in the world, but to mingle with the people who use their energies to create beauty in one way or another and to escape the drama of life. Thank you for being a place I enjoy escaping to and looking at beautiful things.

  361. Nicely said Stephanie! Thanks for bringing it up. I was in Northampton and loved your talk! Glad you finally get to be home for a while. Heather

  362. Thank you Stephanie. Thank you for putting it down nicely, so that people can learn from it rather than become defensive.
    I don’t think I’ve ever seen anybody say anything bad about a particular person, but still, some things written on blogs have made me feel blue. And I never could explain it to myself why it wasn’t quite like you only said it in you own private living room, as some claim. You’re right: it’s a party where everybody’s invited.

  363. I totally forget that people are really people that are REALLY mean on purpose. Maybe I just don’t want to believe it.

  364. I’m really new to the blogging world and haven’t run into this kind of thing. But I’ve always used the rule of thumb, in the real world, that if I don’t want the person to hear it, don’t say it regardless of whether they are present or not. And I hope that always carries over to my blogging.

  365. Well said. Having been in the position of being “discussed” in a not so nice way myself last year – and knowing it was going on, feeling helpless and ostracized because of it – it’s about time someone reminds us all that we can indeed be heard.

  366. De-lurking to say THANK YOU!!!! You took the words right out of my mouth. I just recently started my own blog, and while there’s nothing more on there right now that talk of the books I’ve read, socks I’ve knit, and the book I’m writing…I find myself taking time to decide what to say because I know it’s going out there in public.
    My friend and I were talking the other day about honesty. She’s not a very tactful one, and I’ve learned that I just have to deal with it if I want to remain her friend. She didn’t understand me when I said there needs to be a balance between being honest, offering constructive criticism and
    not hurting someone’s feelings.
    Maybe it’s because my mother raised me to use my manners, but I don’t know what gets into people sometimes. How they can be so mean. It’s very sad.

  367. Well said! Your post brings to mind a recent adventure on a bus in my fair city. A young woman, possibly early twenties, was chatting on her phone at MAXIMUM VOLUME. We, the other riders, were treated to a full expose of the carring on of one Darryl, boyfriend of the young lady. Darryl was a very bad boy by all accounts, sleeping around, hitting on his girlfriend’s friends and generally being a cad (I date myself here). When the phone call (mercifully!) ended an elderly lady sitting in front of the young woman turned around and said to her, “Dear, Darryl is a bad one, you’d do well do dump that rat”. To which the young miss replied”Hey, that was a private conversation”.

  368. I can’t help but notice how wonderfully well the way you speak/write models what budhist’s call ‘right speech’, by which they mean speaking in ways that are trustworthy, harmonious, comforting, and worth taking to heart. Put in negative terms, ‘right speech’ means avoiding four types of harmful speech: lies (words spoken with the intent of misrepresenting the truth); divisive speech (spoken with the intent of creating rifts between people); harsh speech (spoken with the intent of hurting another person’s feelings); and idle chatter (spoken with no purposeful intent at all).
    I must confess I can’t always follow those principles, but gosh it’s worth keeping them in mind as much as I am able to.
    thanks for this blog. I love reading about your adventures, your tours, your reflections and I love laughing with you!

  369. Bravo Harlot! Just let me add one thing that you missed. When you post something like a blog online, it’s pretty permanent. (It may not seem so sometimes, but it’s true!) Things get uploaded to servers, and they usually keep a record. People save web pages on their hard drives, mail links and pages to each other etc. You can count on the fact that somebody, somewhere, has a copy of that page and it’s usually several somebodies. Once you post it, it’s almost impossible to erase, no matter how much you may wish it. (Especially at a later time when the person comes back to their senses and realizes that they were being a twit!) I figure that there is a lot of hurt and pain being inflicted to others out there in the world and very often, there’s not a lot I can do about it. Why would I want to add to that when I don’t have to, especially since my mouth is one of the few things I can control!?! (Well most of the time anyways LOL!) Thanks for the wonderful (and wonderfully worded) reminder to be nice to each other. I seem to remember my kindergarten and first grade teachers making the same sort of point when they told us to play nice with each other in the sandbox!

  370. I read your post yesterday, and thought about this all evening. I’m pretty sure I know which blog prompted you to write this post. I, too, am sad to see things come to this, and I just want to add my thanks to all of your earlier commenters, for saying so eloquently what we all need to hear/read again. I only add comments once in a while, but I had to chime in, if only to PUBLICLY go on record as agreeing with you.

  371. Great post, Stephanie.
    I think the reason for the phenomenon is that for many of us a blog is utterly separate from our off-line lives. If the people one encounters in one’s daily life don’t know about one’s blog, the blog can feel like a safe zone of privacy – all bets are off, forget accountability. But feelings can be hurt just as much virtually as in person.

  372. Thank you so much for that. I would love to believe that knitters are a group of great people. We have definitely proved that on several occasions. Even so, there are some people that need to be reminded of the Golden Rule.

  373. I’ve only been blogging since Oct. ’06, and I guess I never thought about how public a blog is. I don’t get many comments, so I’m not sure how many people actually read my blog. I agree that we should support one another in this wonderful world of knitters,not attack. The world is hard enough to live in!!

  374. Civility has largely gone down the toilet, but thankfully, there are still people who care about basic human decency and the feelings of others.
    You are so eloquent in the face of stupid, obnoxious behavior, and as usual, i’m in awe of your graceful handling of a crap situation.
    And my friends wonder why I don’t blog!

  375. I’ve only been blogging since Oct. ’06, and I guess I never thought about how public a blog is. I don’t get many comments, so I’m not sure how many people actually read my blog. I agree that we should support one another in this wonderful world of knitters,not attack. The world is hard enough to live in!!

  376. Dear Pat above,
    I agree wholeheartedly that people should not be silenced. But we do have imagination enough to suspect the content alluded to in this post. It’s not necessary to spread mean gossip or specifically publicly embarrass the perpetrator. I don’t see this entry as asserting one’s own virtue while non-specifically criticizing someone else. It is merely a comment that this is a public space, and typically people conduct themselves differently in public from the way they choose to reveal their private persona. Not all my thoughts are virtuous, but I have to decide whether or not to publicize them.
    Knit Mongrel, as much as a blog might be a diary, I never opened up my diary for the world to see. A blog is actually a web log, and logs historically have been public. I can only imagine the scandal if the ship’s captain related his secret preferences or on-land liaisons in the ship’s log.
    To Tammy, I think there is a rule book for blogging, and as it is public, we should consider how we conduct ourselves in public off the internet for guidance as to how we conduct ourselves on the internet. As others have pointed out, there are sites with private or “friends” settings, and if you want to blog but not in public, these options exist. As well, this entry may be a reaction to a specific incident that may have been dealt with privately in the manner that you mention, but a public commentary is certainly not out of place so that we can all reflect on how we approach this medium.

  377. I’ve been thinking a lot about this since yesterday, and have read all the comments. More than once, coz hey, that’s what I do.
    While I absolutely will not argue against a call for more civility and thought, it’s not about that. It’s not about hiding your opinion or only talking about the weather so as not to offend as some have suggested, and it’s certainly not about censorship. And it doesn’t really matter whether you agree with the party analogy, although it’s a really damn good one.
    It’s just this: If you put it online, whether you Intend or Expect it to be read or not, it’s out there, and it can be found. Just don’t be surprised when people make judgements about the kind of person you are in real life based on it.
    But what I’m choosing to focus on today is the kickass total on the sidebar over at Claudia’s blog raised for her ride to fight MS. Hot damn.

  378. The internet is an amazing place, but one of the things that has been around ever since the beginning of this (and I do know this because I was a chat room monitor for AOL for two different chats in 1987) is that people have this tendency to feel that they are invisible and behind this wall and can do and say whatever they please. They can be nasty. They can throw garbage. They can be distructive. They can find out people’s personal information and emails and send them horrific disgusting and threatening private messages. And somehow, because they think no one knows who they are or where they are, it’s ok. Only it isn’t. Back then when I was hosting for AOL, we had this secret system to “call the cavalry” if things in the chat got bad – it was called then (and is still called NOW) “IM” – only the chat room hosts/monitors had access to that and you could call in the AOL staff person, who would electronically reach down, grab the naughty person electronically by the electronic scruff of his (sorry, it was usually a male)neck, dump him outside the door and lock him out. So, this has been a problem for the internet forever. Doesn’t make it right. But the problem existed back in the days when all we had were list-servs and chat rooms on AOL – so the invention of blogs has only given these sort of folks an even bigger field to play around in and has only encouraged bad behavior among other people, which I find really odd. If those folks were face to face with you, would they say and do those things? I don’t think so.

  379. Dude, now I’m going to have to read all 900+ entries I’ve written and delete the ones that are just plain mean, aren’t I?
    Bah. Maybe after more coffee.

  380. Well there’s a hefty subject and a half! I think it’s less a question of “you must play nicely” and more that you have to remember to be an adult and be accountable for what you say. Holding an opinion is an important part of who we are as individuals and any attempt to encroach on freedom of expression would be a terrible thing and I am sure is not what anyone is suggesting. Plus I like reading what other people think about various topics and it helps me formulate my own views.
    However, giving an opinion does not necessitate rudeness and giving a vitriolic opinion and expecting it not be read is like the child playing hide and seek by putting a bucket on their head.
    I don’t know what has brought this subject up again in the knittysphere and I hope whatever it was didn’t sting too much.
    Someone suggested blogging only about the weather so here is the weather report from the UK – it is not quite raining but may do so shortly! 🙂

  381. Thanks for this Stephanie. As a brand new blogger, I don’t want to start out on the wrong foot. I admit, when I first posted, I thought: No one’s ever going to read this. I was beside myself when I say you, Joanna and EmiCat had posted comments. Thankfully I have way too much fun poking fun at my own knitting.
    On the new blogger subject, a few comments here today were talking about blog lists and blog rings…what are these?

  382. Very well said! When I was in high school I kept a diary and wrote something terrible about one of my friends. Of course she ended up reading it and I lost a good friend forever. I definitely learned my lesson early.
    Thank you for your blog. I have been reading yours for two years now and it wasn’t until today that I actually posted a comment.

  383. Thank you, Stephanie. I have wondered the same thing about a few knitting podcasts. (Probably true of podcasts in general, but knitting ones are the only ones I listen to.) I have also noticed that teenagers will write things in their essays that they would never say aloud–including occasionally some illegal activities. Usually, those are more personal things rather than invective, but I think there is some sort of human tendency to feel that writing it down instead of saying it outloud is somehow safe. I know that’s totally illogical because writing it down creates a record.
    Thank you for your comments and your blog.

  384. This is true on so many levels. I can’t imagine reading something mean about myself on someone’s blog when they don’t have the courage to say it to me directly. How rude and cowardly!

  385. some how i always miss out on all the drama and boy am I glad, I always wonder if when I was keeping up with my podcasts if there was people out there writting mayne not so nice things, not just contructive critisism. I know a lot of other podcasters expereinced some meanness. Amen to what u said, heck I found out my mother in law reads my blog so now I cant call my husband a butthead in my blog anymore (even if it’s always playful, she could take it out of context!)

  386. Wow, you have a lot of people who comment on this but I guess I am going to add to it too. lol
    I myself keep a small blog with just a few readers. I have had some good comments and even a few nasty ones. I think you learn to live with both of them over time.
    For myself I feel that if you don’t have something nice to say…well don’t say anything (doesn’t mean you can’t think it..lol) So, if I don’t like a site or a post I just don’t say anything about it really (unless it is something I feel VERY strong about, which isn’t much.) I wouldn’t want to hurt someone feelings because something isn’t to my liking. I figure we are all different and just because I don’t like something doesn’t mean it doesn’t work for someone else.
    I really do wish more people would THINK before they post something nasty. I also wonder WHY they do it in the first place. What good does it really do?!
    I do know what you mean about people feeling like no one will read what they write so they post it. I guess it’s more real if you look at it in that light.
    No matter what there is enough negitive junk out today and I feel if I don’t like someones site, post, or whatever that’s just my thoughts on it and I don’t feel it’s my place to trash them for it (I myself have wrote many not so hot postings.. and my knitting isn’t great either! lol…)
    Anyway, I enjoy reading your post so that’s why I am commenting on this! lol..
    Dora Renee’ Wilkerson

  387. My natural curiousity leaves me wondering which blog has inspired your plea. I know you won’t tell because you walk the walk… but I’m going to go check my blog to make sure it’s not me. Though I’m fairly sure it’s not.
    (I do on occasion criticize a stranger in a general tone… what is your take on this?)

  388. Well said! I teach a blogging course in Victoria and would love to print out this post and distribute it to my students the next time I hold a course…let me know if you’d approve of this. Nice post. (And thanks for coming to Victoria the other week – it was lovely!)

  389. The problem with the ‘don’t post what you wouldn’t say to their face’ rule is that there are quite a few people out there who quite happily blurt out their thoughts without a single consideration of the impact or upset that they are making.
    I used to work with somebody like that and whilst she wasn’t deliberately malicious she would often open her mouth and come out with ‘boy, those shoes are so ugly’ or ‘that dress makes you look pregnant’ or ‘this piece of work is sh*t’ and she genuinely couldn’t understand why she had upset the recipient of her comments!

  390. The problem with the ‘don’t post what you wouldn’t say to their face’ rule is that there are quite a few people out there who quite happily blurt out their thoughts without a single consideration of the impact or upset that they are making.
    I used to work with somebody like that and whilst she wasn’t deliberately malicious she would often open her mouth and come out with ‘boy, those shoes are so ugly’ or ‘that dress makes you look pregnant’ or ‘this piece of work is sh*t’ and she genuinely couldn’t understand why she had upset the recipient of her comments!

  391. Well said. People who behave like that are probably the same ones who pick their noses in their car because they think they’re protected by some invisible shield or something…

  392. Very well said! What I don’t get is how the people who write such things don’t understand what they are revealing about themselves. As angry or upset as their nasty, negative, belitting comments might be, I always also end up feeling sorry for them. To behave that way in a public place must mean they are desperately unhappy with themselves, deep down.

  393. Thank you, Stephanie, for stating this so eloquently. My prayer is that someday we will all realize the value in lifting one another up instead of tearing each other down.

  394. So a**hats????….. Thats a knitting pattern I haven’t seen. I’m NOT going to google that one… scary. Itchy, in wool. I’m guessing.
    (a little levity albeit in brevity)

  395. Oh, how timely your post!! I had recently made a post on what projects I had finished and had cast on, and mentioned that one was for a yet to be born baby – no name of mom, but in the post mentioned another child’s name. Someone read the post, figured out who the mom to be was, called her and told her I told her (the blog reader) she was expecting. I feel like an idiot. I did not post “Hi all – Guess what?? Suzy is pregnant”, and thought I was being vague enough as to not reveal too much. WRONG! I feel like the village idiot and a bit peeved that someone would read something on my blog and the say that I TOLD them. Albert Einstein did not TELL me his theory of relativity – I read it. Thanks for the dose of reality.. fondly, The Village Idiot.

  396. Thank you, it needed to be said, I always wonder about those people, didn’t anyone teach them any manners?

  397. Probably no-one will read this – it is Post #465 or so – but I wanted to mention two things that I’ve seen on Internet messages:
    1. If you’ve told somebody off in your message, ending it with “hugs and kisses” or even “just my two cents” does not erase the pain you’ve caused.
    2. On the other hand, your own state of mind affects how you read e-mail, more than any other communication I’ve ever seen. We write as though we’re talking to someone, but they can’t hear the tone of our voice, so their subconscious puts in its own tone. And if you’ve had a tough day, or are upset for some other reason, you can hear a nasty tone in a message and read into it criticisms that aren’t actually there.
    So when I get what I think is a flame, before I answer I always leave it for a day or two, calm my mind, and try to re-read the post objectively. Sometimes I find it wasn’t a flame at all.

  398. Mercy! I’m very glad I haven’t come across the particular blogs you’re talking about. As if we don’t have enough of this brand of behaviour on TV. Ours is to uplift and encourage – not the opposite. Whatever you put out into the world comes back to you threefold and unfortunately there are many still out there that need to learn this. A sad but classy reminder Steph.

  399. Ummm . . . I don’t think it was me . . . was it? I have been wearing my complaint free world bracelet, trying to curb complaining for no reason.

  400. I, like pretty much everyone else here, totally agree with you. I always wonder though, with a post like this that is seemingly out of the blue, what actually inspired it. Clearly something did: I applaud you for not descending to the same level and broadly declaring the details. Quite the accomplishment, in my opinion.

  401. Well then if this is PUBLIC, let me just say how much I appreciated you. Your humor, your wit and your class. I love getting my dose of the Harlot every day and am grateful that you take the time to share your observations with the world. So knit on and blog on! I love every minute of it….whether it makes me spit my coffee out with laughter or open my wallet to another yarn store.

  402. Yes, yes! I have not yet seen this on knitting blogs but I certainly have seen it on other forums. It makes me sad even to think this kind of thing might spread to the knitting community…so I’m glad you said your piece…and glad I don’t know what brought it up.

  403. Your well-written blog entry has made me schedule a little talk with my kids, who sometimes play games online with others all over the world. They use headphones and such and everyone can make comments about the game and/or the other gamers, and like the internet blogs, it fosters that feeling of anonymity. I plan on asking my kids if they would be bothered to have me read a script of their gaming conversations. I know for a fact that some players use offensive language, and often insult one another viciously. I want to make sure my own family members have not gotten sucked into this cesspool, no matter how witty their spiteful replies. In many cases, (not all, but many) silence is golden.
    ~ Dar

  404. Normally, I would agree with you but I couldn’t help thinking why you should be the judge and teach us all about respect on the internet. It is considered free speech.

  405. The last job I held in corporate america was that of Property Claims Examiner. Basically, if you insured your home/business/stuff through the company I worked for and something bad happened to it, it was my job to figure out how much you should get paid for the damage. As you can imagine, I had the opportunity to speak with an irate person or two during my time there, and after a year or two it became increasingly difficult to keep one’s cool while being yelled at over the phone day after day by people who did not understand their coverage/whose houses had burned down, etc, etc. So, as a reminder to myself, I hung a sign on my computer that said, “Be Nice”. My boss asked me about it one day, and I said that we could all use the reminder to be nicer to others now and again. Especially when the only reason I had a job was because something terrible had happened to someone else. We all need the reminder even more when it is difficult to be nice to others, and especially when the others are the ones making it difficult for us to be nice to them.

  406. I shudder to imagine what you’ve read in your own blog comments or heard about from others that prompted your thoughtful words. As a very new blogger I appreciate the words of wisdom. Thanks!

  407. P.S., I checked my blog. It’s not me. Phew! Yes, I constantly second guess myself because I am a passionate personality.

  408. Gosh, well, it’s already been said in so many ways, I feel kind of silly posting. Thanks for saying it with class.

  409. Damn. The Internet ate my first comment.
    I’ll try again. I don’t know what provoked this but I didn’t see the intent of this post as, “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.” (Sentiments I don’t agree with, BTW.) Being nicey-nice-hugs-puppies-unicorns isn’t the only alternative to being an a**hole. Adults can — or should be able to — disagree with each other in a polite and classy manner.
    I like the comments about, “true, necessary, and kind” although I would alter it to, “true, has a productive goal, and is as kind as possible.” There’s a difference between giving a negative review to a store/yarn/pattern/etc and being mean just for the fun of being mean.
    For example, it’s one thing for a blogger to write about how she disagrees with one of Steph’s posts or to post a negative review of one of Steph’s latest books. It’s something else entirely (and in my opinion, totally unacceptable) to start attacking Steph personally in an attempt to be entertaining.

  410. Words can cut just like a knife if used incorrectly. They wield great power.
    When it comes to the internet, NOTHING you ever write is private and it is there somewhere FOREVER.
    I’m not much of a knitter but love your writing style and enjoy your posts.
    I guess any name you used to demonstrate your point would have been problematic for someone, but I’d like to speak up for the Susan’s of the world. We’re great people too!
    Thanks for the reality check to us all!

  411. Just how does one go about boosting readership anyway? I’ve never had any success with various methods……
    I admit it, I’m jealous of Stephanie’s 484 comments at this point.

  412. Thanks for writing this, and putting it so well! I think everyone needs to be reminded now and then that the internet is public.

  413. I went over to a blog I thought might have brought this on and read the comments that I had failed to read the day the topic came out because, well, I didn’t really think it was a very interesting topic, and may I just say, in the words of my dear, departed Gram, “dear God in Heaven!”
    Pretty much DAILY, before I begin my working grind I zip over to Franklin and then I zip over to Stephanie, just for a little smile before I get working. I’m THRILLED with the tour posts, the house posts, the nephew shooting the sweater posts, whatever you’ve got to say. You’re a very funny lady, an astonishingly talented knitter, and a good writer. Good job you!
    And, yes, the guise of anonymity on the internet seems to make people a whole heck of a lot bolder than they might be at say, a block party, more’s the pity.
    But it is an inescapable element of human nature, too, to be kinda bitchy when you never think you’re going to be found out. I’ve found myself in the position before of defending (or more often apologizing) for something I’ve said that I NEVER intended to get back to whomever. It’s not a fun position to be in and one learns, a little bit at a time, just to shut the hell up. And still, sometimes I say stuff I really shouldn’t, we all do it. But you’re right, we should try and only say things we can ‘cop to’.
    As Olympia Dukakis said in Steel Magnolias, “if you haven’t got anything nice to say about anybody .. come over here and sit by me.” 🙂 (but see, that’s private bitchiness!)

  414. I’m so glad you posted about this. I’ve noticed a lot of invectives lately about a recently published edition of an online knitting magazine, and I was surprised in many cases that the blogger would choose to write some of the things posted because they were mean words about, in the end, a person. Not a pattern or a style, but the person who worked so hard on providing people with FREE patterns. Thanks for pointing this out – power of the pen (keyboard), you know?

  415. Excellent point. Life is just too short to focus on the negative.
    There was a fascinating psychological study of anonymity making even nice people act mean. Just like you said, it is important to remember the internet is really not private.
    The knitting community online is generally wonderful, thank goodness.
    I just read your latest book. Another winner!

  416. I agree with what you said. It all goes back to — If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all. Parents still tell their kids that right?

  417. De-lurking to applaud your measured and calm criticism about one of the flaws of the internet, namely that some people forget that behind all the web sites and blogs are real people with real feelings and that honesty and rudeness are not the same thing. Good manners cost nothing as my mum says.(Well sometimes they cost a really deep breath and a count to ten but it’s worth it)
    I was just reading about social courage the other day(the courage to speak out when everbody is looking at their feet -metaphorically or otherwise). You’ve got it in spades. Keep up the good work.

  418. Ah, the balance between freedom and responsibility. A difficult balance in a democracy as well as in the open blogland. When exercising our freedoms we (or some people) forget that we live in a community and that in a community responsibility is equally important.

  419. I still really appreciate how you said this, and I know you are still likely recovering from all that travel, but did you spin this week? I remember the May 16, 2007 Easy to Entertain post with great fondness. Its not like I am begging for entertainment, but I find your spinning posts are feeding my growing obsession with yarn and my possible desire to learn to spin (though I am trying to control myself – I barely learned how to really knit after all). My husband did not leave his truck for me, I am stuck at work and could not get to my LYS as I planned at lunch. I tried looking in my workbag, but I already saw this yarn. I am thrilled with it, but I need fresh fumes or something.
    I seem to be in need of a fix. Is this normal?

  420. Very well written, but the whole time I’m reading, I’m thinking…OMG…have I written this way about someone? I know I have only about 10 readers on a busy day, but….I try to be nice about people I know. Or give the benefit of the doubt. Now, I have blogged some things about my husband lately….

  421. “Normally, I would agree with you but I couldn’t help thinking why you should be the judge and teach us all about respect on the internet. It is considered free speech.”
    Free speech is a legal right, not justification for doing things we all know at some level are just plain wrong. Before we speak – or post anything on the internet – part of being a decent human being is considering who might hear or read it, how long it will persist, the good or harm it could do. Not because the law requires it, but because it makes for a better community. Some people don’t care about creating a civil society, and will choose to say nasty things even having considered these things, but perhaps others haven’t really thought about it and that was what Stephanie’s [free] speech was all about.

  422. Ya know, Steph – there is a well-loved blogger who I don’t have on my favorites list and don’t regularly check anymore just because of the general tone of the blog. There’s always someone being slammed there, and I come away from the blog feeling like I’ve been to the mean girls’ house! Glad I’m not the only one feeling this way!

  423. One million comments later. I think is so timely. Thank you for your words and your integrity. I’m new to blogging but have wrestled a few times over whether to blog about something (usually it’s a someone) and then think, well if they ever read it… and then move on to other problems to tackle like breastfeeding, natural birth, or the particular teenage gift for giving grief. Oh and some knitting. Teeny bit.

  424. I appreciate your comments, fortunately I too have not encountered this so far. This is my first time posting a comment on your blog with my blog link, so I’m introducing myself now. Hi!

  425. I appreciate your comments, fortunately I too have not encountered this so far. This is my first time posting a comment on your blog with my blog link, so I’m introducing myself now. Hi!

  426. Dear Ms. Harlot.
    I would like to thank you for inviting me into your living room. I have enjoyed every moment I’ve spent here, whether I’ve cried, laughed, learned or just plain giggled. Although this living room feels oddly one-sided as we don’t have immediate conversational interactions, I know that anything I’m thinking will be reflected in the comments section by others who are in the living room too. A lot of things I’m not thinking will also be reflected in the comments and lots of times they give me mental food to chew on (just like a good discussion should, don’t you think?). Actually it’s rather a large living room, for what you claim is not a large house, because there seem to be a lot of visitors drifting in and out.
    It would appear that there are some visitors in living rooms like yours that perhaps are not as welcome as they would like to be, and apparently there are livings rooms that (having had a quick walk through) many of us would prefer not to sit down in. I’ve been in a number of living rooms over the years. There are many that I don’t return to, many that have closed (for many reasons) that I wish I could return to, many I visit often, some I visit as I can and a couple that I have nightmares about (no details, you really don’t need to know). I have always done my best to behave in a fashion that would leave a host/ess feeling they would like me to return (or at least not wondering why on earth I had been invited). As a hostess I have done my level best to ensure that anyone in my living room is cared for and feels welcome.
    All that being said, there have been times, as a guest and as a hostess, when I have quietly spoken to someone to let them know that I am uncomfortable with something (an action, a word) that is hurtful. Once it caused a little grief, but the other times I saw understanding and change. My living room has been happier ever since.
    I think it behooves (if that isn’t a word, it should be – I love it!) us all to remember that living rooms are not totally private, nor are they an arena in which anything goes. They are a social gathering place with some rules that, while perhaps unwritten, are not unheard of and you can bet that those who break the rules too often and too hard may end up with empty living rooms of their own and no invitations to go out. How sad it must be to sit home alone.
    Well, that was a rather long comment, but I’m done now. Other than saying thank you again for being such a wonderful hostess, I really do love your living room, the diversity is great!

  427. Well, Steph.
    I know EXACTLY what/who you’re talking about. I have been reading her blog a long time, she was one of the first to “knitblog” and I bet she doesn’t even like THAT term of endearment. Some people are just “born crabby.” The whole thing smacks of sour grapes. Mama always said,”You can’t argue with success.” And Daddy would answer,”Put that in your smipe and poke it.” Just consider the source and let it go…let it go…let it go…
    bye for now!

  428. It seems silly to say this after about 500 comments, but kudos to you Stephanie. Sad that bloggers need to be reminded of kindness and respect for others. I work hard on teaching students in my classroom about respect and empathy for others in hopes that they will be outstanding adults and citizens. Adults should already have these good habits.
    I love to log on quickly in the morning to read your blog. It gives me a smile, a feeling of community, and usually a giggle. It’s a great way to start my day (and sometimes end it too). Thanks for sharing your knitting life with us.

  429. So, is this blog about knitting or blogging? I just found your book at the library today and laughed outloud until I cried in the middle of McDonald’s. It is so nice to know that others are as addicted to knitting as I am. Thanks for sharing, and for getting that blogging thing straightened out too.

  430. So, is this blog about knitting or blogging? I just found your book at the library today and laughed outloud until I cried in the middle of McDonald’s. It is so nice to know that others are as addicted to knitting as I am. Thanks for sharing, and for getting that blogging thing straightened out too.

  431. So, is this blog about knitting or blogging? I just found your book at the library today and laughed outloud until I cried in the middle of McDonald’s. It is so nice to know that others are as addicted to knitting as I am. Thanks for sharing, and for getting that blogging thing straightened out too.

  432. Sorry to have clicked to many times. I guess knitting has not taught me patience like it has you. I’m sure that comes with time.

  433. Probably the sagest advice my mother ever told me was, “Never write down anything you don’t want published on the front page of the newspaper” It’s the reason I’ve never been a journaler! It stands to reason that we should upgrade the statement to reflect our computer-ease…Never blog/type anything….

  434. I am so sorry you had to spend all that time writing this post, instead of being able to knit or spin or even fill up Sir Washie.
    But of course I am grateful you wrote it, in your inimitable style, which is able to hit the nail on the head so gracefully it responds with a heartfelt “Thank you, Stephanie!”

  435. Brava, Stephanie. A voice for civility while still appreciating civil dissent. Would that they had you to tell them this in Parliament…(sigh).

  436. From Linda: “Normally, I would agree with you but I couldn’t help thinking why you should be the judge and teach us all about respect on the internet. It is considered free speech.”
    Of course it’s free speech. What Stephanie was saying is that you never know who is reading what you say.
    I post on a set of busy message boards. And twice, at work, I’ve found printouts from those same message boards on the printer. Not anything I’ve said, but close. In one case, whoever printed that message out had read something I said. (And it happened to be a nice, sympathetic comment). Since then I’ve been extremely close-mouthed about what I said regarding my work.
    Kids graduating from college are learning this same lesson when they are being interviewed for their first real job, and the person from HR leans back and says, “So, that spring break when you went to Cancun, did you see anything other than the beach and several bedrooms?”
    Yes Linda, you’re perfectly free to say anything you like on the Internet. It is free speech, as you said. And other people are perfectly free to read what you say, even if it’s your mother, your husband, your best friend, or your boss.

  437. Being about the nine millionth to comment, I don’t imagine this will be read, but…. my blog is “unlisted” and even then I feel I need to be polite, so I truly understand your comment. (And LOVE your blog! If I could be only a fraction as eloquent and enjoyable, even for my audience of one or two…)

  438. Who better than a knitter to remind other knitters to stick to their knitting? (It only took me a couple hours to come up with that.)
    Stephanie, you are a thousand percent right, and I myself needed just that kind of wake-up call. I have a world of respect for you.
    Time to make with the knitting!

  439. Wow! I am really scared, now. At first I thought, “wow, I have never read one of those meanie blogs”. Then, I thought, ‘does that mean I don’t read enough blogs?’ (insert overly guilty conscience, here. THEN, I got totally scared, ‘am I one of THOSE meanies and steph’s trying to politely remind me not to be an arse?’

  440. I keep a separate, private blog where I vent all my vitriol…which is usually about my MIL and has nothing to do with knitting, so it all works out fine. 😀

  441. I’ll echo the Wow! said earlier. I must be really lucky or something. Other than ‘you knit that on purpose’ (or whatever it was called and it’s now gone anyway) I never read a meanie blog.
    I’m also hoping I didn’t ‘accidentally’ stray into meanie blog zone. I absolutely adore you and the other blogs I read, so I link frequently usually grateful that someone has said what I was thinking so eloquently.
    When I started my blog, I kind of made it a goal to ‘keep it positive and full of peace and love for the universe at large (not just those who share my opinions)’ and to use it as a place to write, but only oh so rarely to actually vent. I hope I’m succeeding (I’m trying to emulate a great role model).
    Thanks for all you do!

  442. I’ve responded to this post before. But, you know, right now I’m sitting here knitting a thimble-sized hat for a little boy who came into this world weighing 1.5 pounds. One of my readers asked me if I would knit it, despite the fact that I’m no seasoned knitter, because she wants to give him SOMETHING that has love in every stitch and she doesn’t knit herself.
    I don’t know. It just seems like maybe we’ve forgotten what we’re here for in all the uproar over the past two days. My blog has received about three times its normal traffic because people have been searching, trying to figure out what happened and who said what and they have landed on my blog because I admire Stephanie and have written about her. This whole thing –it’s like a feeding frenzy.
    But I’m sitting here, knitting this tiny hat and trying to WILL this little boy to survive and it occurs to me that maybe we all have bigger fish to fry.

  443. bingo…altho there was a horrible blog that i used to look at occassionally because it was like a train wreck…
    i love positive, happy, funny posts…

  444. Hear hear!!
    Oh, and there is no yarn in the garage (sorry)- it’s detached and a bit damp in there, too scary for my darling wool.

  445. Hear hear!!
    Oh, and there is no yarn in the garage (sorry)- it’s detached and a bit damp in there, too scary for my darling wool.

  446. Such a classy lady. I love the way you have let people know about the etiquette of blog writing. Thankfully I haven’t come across any overtly negative blogs or comments, and I really don’t know what my reaction would be if I did as I don’t approve of bad manners. Thankyou for pointing out to others that bad manners are not to be tolerated.

  447. If I missed people being mean about/to other people, I’m really glad that I did. But what you said was very well said if there is a lot of that going around. And I consider myself very lucky (or, at least, happily in a bubble) that I’m missing it.
    Please excuse the bad grammar, it never was my strong suit 🙂

  448. Anything funny or interesting happen with your knitting today? Not to change the subject….

  449. thank you for this posting. muttering under your
    breath when walking away and someone says i just
    heard that is a large part of the internet.put my name in the search engine and you surely
    will find me and this comment and my family
    from 250 years and my cousin john airhart
    answering questions before congress in the 1950s
    now we have the red scarf project ready to begin
    orphans .org was flooded witn scarfs last year
    eary mailings this year we are just a great group
    thank you all

  450. There can be nothing more cowardly, really, than to attack someone on-line. It must be so easy to do – as easy as sitting there and typing away really – with no fear of having to witness the ‘victim’s’ reaction. It can be very draining, though, to be on the receiving end of it.
    I love feedback that encourages self-learning and growth; this sort of thing though just causes me to wilt. Best ignored. As my dear dad used to say: “take a lot of no notice”!

  451. Well said. I’ve skimmed through the last 500 or so comments and just wanted to add that it is not only on the internet that rudeness abounds. Our society in general has slipped in the kindness to others category. Everywhere I look, people seem to say whatever they feel, regardless of the other person’s feelings. We are getting to be a very selfish society, only concerned about our wants and needs.
    I think the internet, blog world is a reflection of what is going on everywhere.
    just my 2 cents.

  452. When people are shielded from direct interaction, it can bring out the ugliness in us. I see this all the time driving. People who wouldn’t dream of breathing down your neck while standing in line at the bank will drive cars within millimeters of your bumper, and look angrily at you while they’re doing it. It’s mean and nasty, but it’s also very much a part of what it means to be human. You have to cultivate the good, because there’s so much in us that tends toward the terrible. Thanks for the reminder! The garden needs sunlight to grow.

  453. Steph — I really think that when you’re old, people are all going to call you “the wise one” — but really, you’re just wise, now — when you’re not old! Cause I think that we were all sort of thinking the same as you — but you just have a way of putting it that is so mature and so eloquent! Thanks.

  454. My mother always said if you wouldn’t say it to their face, don’t say it at all. She was right. Itr applies to email, blogs -everything.
    My other mantra is look at yourself before you criticise others – are you perfect?
    Nicely put Stephanie, let’s hope the offender takes note – though they are probably too thick skinned to realise it applies to them – whoever they are…..

  455. As much as a blog is personal, because it is an expression and extention of the author(s) who post there, I also wonder how people expect anything posted online to be private.
    If you feel the need to vent, there are proper and politically correct ways of doing it. If you want to be a jerk about it, don’t be surprised that people are going to dump on you or react.
    It’s a shame that people transcend any forum for the sake of being rude, or to overreact to the most petty of situations.

  456. Let’s hear it for “blog-iquette”. I have a fledgeling knitting blog, and to my knowledge, sadly no one reads it. But, if they did, they’d only read nice things about themselves. Negativity is bad Karma. 🙂

  457. I am not even going to try to read the 500+ comments that came before mine.
    I just want to say thank you for writing this. And for being the class act that you are.

  458. Commenting again, as I’ve read some remarks referring to blogs as being “like diaries”…When I think of diaries, I think of taking a pen and scribbling in a notebook, and leaving it at that. I don’t think of it as taking a pen, scribbling in a notebook, and then ripping out that sheet of paper and thumbtacking it to a corkboard posted in the lobby of my building — which is essentially what a blog is: someone’s writings posted in a public place. If you want to treat this public space as place to put your private thoughts, to treat it as a diary, fine; just don’t be surprised when other people read it.
    And I don’t personally believe in “if you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all”; I don’t believe in being mean, but there’s a difference between a considered opinion (“I don’t personally care for the drape of that jacket”) and being mean (“that jacket sucks; why would anyone want to wear it?”). (Random example; I don’t have any piece of clothing in mind.)

  459. I’m experiencing this on my blog for the first time. I guess I should be flattered that I actually have readers and that I’m exciting enough to encite a riot. However, this (anonymous) commenter has gone so far as to attack my character and tell me that I deserve a recent injury for criticizing a yarn shop. I’ve stopped allowing those comments, but this goes beyond the bounds of common decency for what you should do in public and private.

  460. Yours is the only knitblog I read regularly, so I have no frame of reference. Based on what I’ve seen happen on some message boards, however, I can only imagine what we’re dealing with here.
    I couldn’t agree more with the person way^up^there^ who cited an article about the rise of ‘snarkiness’ as an acceptable ‘popularity’ trait. Sadly, it truly is an alarming modern trend, and it’s especially evidenced in blogland–and not just knitblogs. There’s no shortage of people whose social and intellectual growth was stunted in the 5th grade to keep the trend alive and well (no offense to 5th graders who actually plan on maturing). If only they saw what the more evolved see, namely, an utter lack of class and the obvious fact that snarkiness is pathetically obvious and desperate filler aimed at camoflauging the fact that they don’t have anything of substance to say. Just like a stand-up comedian with poor material who throws in cuss words to score some cheap laughs. There’s nothing there, just someone with no talent and a potty mouth. Hilarious. Not.
    Actually, I’ve often marveled at what a smart and civil group of posters you attract to your blog. I guess class and intelligence begets class and intelligence. Imagine that.

  461. As a high school English teacher, I spend a lot of time trying to explain this same thing to my students about their MySpace pages. There’s nothing like a nasty rumor to ruin a student’s reputation at school and the internet makes it too easy to do. I’d like to print and/or link to your apt and well-written comments next fall for my students, with your permission, of course.

  462. OMG! If you can’t say anything nice don’t say anything at all. That’s the saying so many Mothers including myself have been telling our children for ages. I hope that this is the last time we as a creative community will have to hear about this. Our talents vary but they are all a gift that is shared with others.

  463. While everything you said is true and wonderful and all that….
    I can’t get past the title – which reminds me strongly of the barker at the beginning of the Firefly episode “The Message” and the mutated foam not-upside-down-but-supposed-to-be-upside-down cow fetus.

  464. And now we know why you write books (not just your shamazing knitting, is it? 😉 ).
    Lovely. ((hugs)) Well put indeed.
    Personally, I live by the saying from Peanuts:
    There are three things you never discuss if you want to keep friends: Religion, politics, and the Great Pumpkin!!
    — Linus.

  465. “Normally, I would agree with you but I couldn’t help thinking why you should be the judge and teach us all about respect on the internet. It is considered free speech.”
    Actually, the internet is considered free speech only in the free world. There are countries, such as China, which block access to their citizens to areas of the internet which they don’t consider politically correct.
    As an American (reading a Canadian blog) I understand that the freedom of speech granted me by MY constitution was given so that I can speak out freely against my government. It does not give me license to be cruel or slanderous.
    Thanks, Stephanie for reminding us to be considerate when we choose to comment in blogs.

  466. Well said, Stephanie. I have always loved your blog and your fantastic wit. It’s shocking and saddening that courtesy is becoming passe in the online world.

  467. Way to go Stephanie!
    Many Years ago, some one explaining the nature of Karma told me: “Ill will grunges up the universe”
    life would be so much easier if people had that figured out.
    Am I a bad person because I am morbidly curios about who and what inspired this? -if only to avoid them ?

  468. I haven’t actually seen the rude post or posts that you refer to. I have been the recipient of anonymous comments that are vicious and hurtful. (Turns out I actually knew the commenter- which is creepy in its own way). I think someone else said that the internet is not as huge as people think, and that it’s not as easy as one thinks to be completely anonymous- which is a whole different subject I guess. Internet etiquette should be required reading for anyone who starts a blog or decides to leave a comment.

  469. I am sometimes amazed at how scathing people can be about a pattern someone has worked hard on and had the courage to publish. Thanks for setting such a good example for us.

  470. HI: I just wanted to say that many years ago I noticed this same behaviour from people who think they are anonymous because they are in their cars. I have seen people make very rude gestures, say terrible things, and carry on in ways highly uncivilized, within the protection of their vehicles. These are people who would NEVER carry on this way in a face-to-face situation. Somehow, they don’t seem to recognize that this artificial “insulation” is just that–artificial. That the people on the other side of the blog, and the people on the other side of the car, or in the next car, could be standing next to them at a cocktail party. That’s how close it all is. And so it’s amazing that folks don’t realize that this is all about behaving in civilized ways, and not in that uncivilized, nay threatening, fashion which enables the very worst behaviour on the part of those who think nobody can see them or nobody can call them to account. I really hope there are not a lot of knitters engaging in this.

  471. Stephanie, you’re right.
    Even the commenters are right. It’s a public thing.
    On the other hand, I had quite a hurtful experience of another sort: it’s just letters. You do not know the writer in person, you do not know what might be on your mind. The letters are a projection board of your mind and your projection might be totally wrong, it might be what you wanted, not what the author wanted. That’s why emails make pretty bad love letters, for example.
    I also noticed that reading comprehension is not a widespread skill and general lack of thereof leads to flamewars, too.
    And just today I wrote not nearly nice things about my flatmate… because she did a few not nice things, too, like losing my cat. Am I mean, then?

  472. You are completely right, Stephanie, but, man, I hate to think of what happened to necessitate such a post. I once had an English teacher who told us to be careful of what we right down and don’t ever write anything, even in a diary, that you don’t want read. Good post and a very nice gentle reminder.

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