Friday, March 23, 2012

When is it okay to be a pit bull on a public forum?

I belong to several online, writing groups where authors and readers come together to exchange ideas. Last week on my publisher’s online group, a writer described a fan of fanfic writing that had contacted her. Her long-winded message quickly turned into a personal attack of this person, who obviously had liked her work.

And yes, her attack reminded me of a pit bull. If that was not bad enough, several other authors dove right in to give her support by further bashing this guy. I don't know this guy from Adam, and he may very well be a creep, but I won’t pretend that I’m okay with this stuff ending up in my inbox.

I’ve always assumed that if you have even a marginal amount of class, there are things you say in public and things you only say in private, if at all. And email lists are a very public medium. I kept wondering when—that is: how long ago—it became okay to verbally assault people to an audience. I feel like it has been happening more frequently since the Tea Baggers began to flex their muscles. But has it been going on forever and I simply didn’t notice it? I hope not.

Bashing ideas, yes; people, no. I don’t feel that it is permissible to bash people behind their backs. It is a form of hate-bashing. My feeling is: if you have issues with someone, have the courage to say it to their face, or keep your opinions to yourself.

Okay, I feel better. I’ll step down from my soapbox now and wish everyone a fantastic, drama-free weekend.

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