Thursday, August 04, 2005

Is Vaspers the Grate too abrasive?

Some think that
Vaspers the Grate
is too abrasive.

For example...

A blog I used to visit frequently, and posted many comments at, has now posted something that I'm fairly certain is directed at me.

What's pathetic about this is that, if this quote [see below] is indeed directed at me, I'm astonished that they did not have the professionalism to ever email me and warn me or ask me to tone down.

I'm also astonished that all my efforts to help them, and give them advice that they actually acted upon, is being disregarded.

Like I've said before, be hesitant to help others. It could backfire. You could be wasting your time and effort on someone who will later turn against you. It's a risk we take in performing good deeds.

Like the frog who helped the snake cross the river, then the snake bit the frog and killed it.

As the frog began to die, he asked the snake, "Why did you kill me after I saved your life?" And the snake said, "It's just my nature. I'm a snake."

I'm not even going to mention the blog this text appears on, but many of my readers will know. The reason I'm not going to mention the blog, is that I want to spare them the embarrassment. Also, I think the name of this blog sounds unseemly and could easily be mistaken for a pornographic site.

I'm blunt, direct, and I rarely pull any punches. However, I don't try to hurt anyone's feelings or condemn people for their ideas and beliefs.

But I also have very strong opinions based on my research and experience. You may not always agree with me, but I'll bet I can motivate you to think in fresh ways about certain topics.

It's funny.

If someone stubbornly and repeatedly advances an idea that I'm certain is incorrect, unproductive, or harmful, and I stubbornly and repeatedly present reasons against it, why am I the "bad guy"?

I've upset many people with my triumphalist approach. Some may have even wept and cursed the day I was born. Then again, some of my debate opponents have become good friends.

I've posted comments at some blogs that people might consider "aggressive", "critical", or even somewhat "harsh". But I have never "flamed" anyone. I have never tried to start an argument just for the fun of arguing, or to make myself appear superior or smarter.

I don't waste precious time seeking fights with other bloggers.

But some bloggers are so pampered, sensitive, or insecure, they cannot bear to be corrected or receive constructive critique. That's their problem, not mine.

Anything you post in a blog is public, and others have a right to post comments that disagree or even ridicule your ideas or opinions. If you think the comment is too vulgar, a hateful personal attack, or using filthy language, you have a right to delete that comment. Or even ban the person from posting any further comments on your blog.

I encourage visitors to hit me with their best shot. I want my ideas challenged, attacked, and ridiculed, if you think that's what needs to be done. I'm not a crybaby bully who whines about harsh comments. And I never delete any comments, no matter how harsh they are.

I only delete comment spam or filthy language comments. Or if someone said something really vile about another person, attacking their race, color, religion, gender, sexual orientation, etc., I'd delete it, with an explanation.

Read my blog posts. Google my name and read my comments at other blogs.

Decide for yourself if I am harsh and abrasive in a malicious, sadistic, hateful manner. If you think I am, I'd love to hear from you.

Maybe I am too harsh. I hope not, but perhaps I'm too kind to myself. Could it be that I'm just a crabby ball of frustrations, seeking helpless prey to vent my anger on?


First, were the comments of someone who has started to boycott us, somewhat to our relief.

He prided himself in being harsh on other commenters who took views he did not like. He often wrote more on this site about his views than either [name deleted] or me. His comments were so abrasive that people started email their thoughts to us, because they did not want to be subjected to his abuses.

After thinking it over, those incidents have led me to the first change in our Comment policy:

If you came into my home and were rude to another guest, I would ask you to stop. If you continued to be rude, I would ask you to leave.

From this point forward, this is what I will do. If I feel you are being abusive, hogging the conversation or otherwise discouraging the open exchange of legitimate points of view. I will ask you to be more polite. If you ignore the request, I will ban you from further Comments. I call the the Living Room rule and I will enforce it subjectively.


I don't know for sure if I'm the "abrasive commenter" who intimidated grown men and prevented them from expressing their opinions publicly, forcing them to do it in emails instead. That's actually kind of funny.

I just know I never "abuse" anyone. But if you express a really stupid idea, I may be very critical of that idea. Even so, I never call anyone names or ridicule them. I don't say "you are stupid", but I might say "that idea is stupid".

Face it: some ideas really are stupid. If you promote stupid ideas, someone eventually will attack those stupid ideas.

Like I often say, welcome to the rough and tumble world of blogs.

The blogosphere is not safe for pampered sissies and timid cowards who want everyone to approve of them and praise everything they say.

If you can't take criticism, if you're insecure about your ideas and beliefs, you probably should not blog.

But if you're open to analysis, if you don't take questions and challenges as personal hate-mongering attacks, you'll probably do just fine as a blogger.

Just remember: you may be misinterpreted and despised, even if you're innocent and compassionate.

[signed] Steven Streight aka Vaspers the Grate



carrie said...

you may be misinterpreted and despised, even if you're innocent and compassionate.

this is true. even i have done this.

steven edward streight said...

I've seen how people attacked you when you simply questioned the fairness of a blog traffic exchange site or the true intentions of a certain general category of bloggers.

It's like they try to goad you into being hateful and mean, but you cannot become that way, since that was not your motive or goal.

I often respond in an extreme manner to ideas that, after careful research and contemplation consider harmful, unwise, or even unethical.

Now, the trouble begins when the proponent of that idea takes my critique as a personal attack.

It's a fusing of self with idea. They become one with the idea that's floating around in their head. They identify with it. It is felt to be somehow an intrinsic aspect of their inner personhood.

I do no such thing.

My ideas are not "me".

I hold all my ideas at arm's length. I often challenge my ideas, hassle them, shake their cages, harangue them, throw stones at them, to see if they hold up under the assault.

My own ideas. I attack them periodically. I seek contrary opinions to test them against. You can't do that if you identify with your ideas.

Crybabies who cannot handle critique are to be pitied.

Karen said...

I must admit, when I read that entry on that 'other site' yesterday, I did think they were referring to you, Steven. This was even before I read your post today. But, then again, maybe they weren't - you have been wrong before (i.e gapingvoid blocking you when you weren't). There are a lot of other people out there in the blogosphere that they could be referring to, and it's your sensitivity/paranoia (I mean that in the nicest way) that makes you think it's you.

steven edward streight said...

The flamers and the enemies of independent thinking are trying to see how tough we really are.

I've got a big surprise for them: I'm a Triumphalist blogger. I cannot be defeated or even hurt in the slightest.

I know that my intentions are always benevolent, even when I feel I must administer distasteful, bitter medicine to cure a malignant disease.

And the blogosphere is diseased.

Link farms, pseudo blogs, spyware attaching web sites, Trojan sites, virus mongers, etc. It's well known that the web is full of various dangers, including file annihilation and identity theft.

I just deleted the comment that appeared prior to this one.

It was posted by Anonymous, the very enemy that has been plaguing my friends at The Red Couch/Naked Conversations blog of Robert Scoble and Shel Israel.

It was comment spam.

How could I tell?

It was bland and short: "I read your blog. I think you'd be very interested in this website."

The word "website" was a blue underlined hypertext link to a malicious site.

How did I know it was malicious?

Read Vaspers the Grate and learn the tricks of the trade.

I bet Karen knows the answer.


Disgruntled Car Salesman said...

Well, I am the same way, and I catch flack from people who disagree with a comments I make as well. You know what?? Fogeddaboudit. I come off very harsh or strong naturally as a person, and if someone doesn't take the time to get to know me they won't know who I really am and what I'm really about. Just the opinions of a passer by.