If You Can't Say Anything Nice ...
I was once told that when you visit someone's blog, it's like you've been invited to visit their home, & you should act accordingly. Somehow, I can't imagine being invited into someone's home & then being rude to that person in any way. For example, if they were to show me a quilt they had made for their child, & I thought that quilt was the ugliest thing I had ever seen, would it be nice of me to tell them that? No, of course it wouldn't. I would instead find something nice to say about it. And if during our visit they were to tell me a story about how they got so fed up with trying to get their roses to grow that they just dug them all up & put them out on the curb on trash day, would I sympathize with their plight, or would I tell them what a horrible person they were to throw something away that someone else may have wanted? I would, of course, sympathize with them. This is a part of having manners. Being kind. Being a decent person.
Likewise, when I visit someone's blog & I disagree with something they've said or something they've done, I mosey along my way. What purpose would it serve me to belittle someone, call them names, accuse them of being lazy, or wasteful, or thoughtless, or ??? It's none of my business. If I find that their blog (or their home) is not a place I enjoy visiting, I simply don't visit there anymore.
A long time ago, I learned "If you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all." Apparently not everyone has learned that.
The Great Blog War of 2013
Most of you will remember the great blog war of 2013. I'm really not sure I can call it a war. To have a war, you need to have two warring armies. This war had just one. I had just gotten out of the hospital after having heart surgery. I was struggling with a cross stitch design &, as I often do when I'm frustrated about something, I wrote a humorous post about my pathetic inability to get this design to look like the model photo, & I jokingly added that the model stitcher must have chosen their floss colors & stitched the design in the dark, then didn't remember which colors they chose so they just chose some colors randomly to include with the directions. I even included a sentence or two about how I loved this particular designer's designs. The designer (long established & popular in the cross stitch world) saw my post & wrote her own post about it making her feel inadequate as a designer, wondering if she should give up designing, & reaching out to other designers for comfort. Her followers turned into a mob of hatred against me. These people knew nothing about how long I had struggled to get this design right, how frustrated I was, what a perfectionist I am, etc. They knew nothing about me at all, yet I received dozens of emails so nasty ... calling me names, telling me the designer should sue me for defamation of character, & telling what a lousy stitcher I must be.
When I read the designer's post & saw that she had taken mine out of context, I immediately removed my post & sent her an email explaining to her that she had always been one of my favorite designers, & that my post was a put down of myself, not of her. I even pointed out where I had written how much I loved her designs (which, for whatever reason, she completely ignored). I apologized for inadvertently hurting her feelings, & told her I had removed the post. Yet she continued to let the war go on for an entire week after receiving my email, before she posted simply that she had received an email from me & she was letting the situation drop. She never responded to my email.
One week after heart surgery ... during this one-sided war ... I had a small stroke.
A couple days ago I posted a photo of a sock which I attempted to burn in my kitchen sink. The title of my post indicated it was "Frustrating Knitting Stuff." I received a few comments, which I posted, & then I received more comments, which I did not post.
If anyone knows anything about me, they know that I will stick with something until I get it right. I did not just knit this sock once, discover I wasn't able to get it right, & then try to burn it. I spent three weeks knitting, frogging, knitting, frogging, & knitting & frogging again. I hated the yarn from the start. I don't know what possessed me to buy it when I did ... whenever that was. I hated the pink & blue combination, & it felt rough in my hands. The yarn split constantly while I was knitting with it. I looked up reviews of the yarn on Ravelry. Everyone posted glowing reviews. My skein must have been a lemon.
After three weeks of knitting, frogging, knitting, frogging, & knitting & frogging again in order to get this sock pattern to be the way it was supposed to be, the yarn was a mass of splits & pills. No one could have re-knitted the yarn if they wanted to. I could have just thrown it in the trash bin & been done with it, but no. I enjoy entertaining my followers. I thought seeing the end of my frustration with this sock, with me trying to ignite it in my sink, would give my followers a laugh. Some of you did laugh. Others made comments & sent me emails telling me that I should have passed the yarn along to someone who could have used it, that perhaps I should try knitting something else other than socks, telling me that I was childish & ridiculous, & accusing me of being wasteful.
Where Were They?
I know they shouldn't, but emails & comments like these never cease to amaze me. Many of these people rarely, if ever, comment on my blog. They never commented to say "I hope everything goes well" when I had my first & second heart surgeries. They never commented to say "I'm sorry" when Sophie passed away. But I post a silly photo of me trying to burn a frustrating knitting project in my kitchen sink & these people come out of the woodwork to tell me what I should have done with some stupid yarn ... yarn which I bought & paid for with my own money & can therefore do with it whatever I like ... & to call me names.
The Future of My Blog
The great blog war of 2013 changed the focus of my blog. Whereas I always enjoyed posting funny stories to make my followers laugh ... all of them obvious put downs of myself ... I started to obsess over every post I wanted to publish. I don't even publish half the number of posts that I used to. To this day, every time I publish a post, I ask myself "Who's going to be offended by this?"
No doubt some people are going to be offended by this post. I feel sorry for these people. I will pray for them. They must have sad, empty lives when they feel they need to criticize others, call them names, etc.
A few of the blogs I follow do not accept comments. Perhaps the blog owners have experienced the same sort of criticizing & name calling that I have. If I continue my blog ... which I will need to do if for no other reason than to post my book reviews ... I will perhaps likewise turn off my comments. Of course that won't stop the emails.