Looking for Something?
Posts Tagged for

debates

Why You Shouldn’t Blog About “Some People”

Author:

When writing opinion pieces, it is often impossible to completely express your ideas without talking about what other people have said on the subject. Personally, I love that aspect of blogging – debating issues where people have strong opinions.Unfortunately, whenever you’re covering an issue that elicits emotions in others, a debate can turn into an argument can turn into mud slinging.

Feelings can get hurt in a hurry, and I think we can all agree: no matter how much you love voicing your opinion, the goal is not to hurt other people. That doesn’t mean it never happens.

It’s one of the most stressful parts of blogging, in my opinion. Whether you like someone personally or not, it can be a little scary to disagree. Will the other person see it? Maybe. Will they be hurt? Maybe.

Should you still voice your opinion? Again, maybe.

What I don’t believe you should do, however, is blog about “some people.” I understand why it’s done and I’ve even fallen into the trap myself, but I think that, in the end, blogging about “some people” only hurts you.

“Some people” shouldn’t have to remain in the shadows in your blog posts.

Who are “Some People”?

First, let me go over what I mean by “some people.” When you have a strong opinion that is in direct conflict with another person’s opinion, I believe that it is respectful to actually name that person and link to his/her site (with the exception being to truly heinous opinions like racial slurs, which in my opinion don’t deserve the traffic you’ll give them). Instead, what I see lots of bloggers doing is say, “Some people think…” I’m sure you’ve seen it too. Even though the blogger is talking about a specific person, they won’t name that person. They just generalize.

I’m not saying that you always have to call out other bloggers. For example, in this post, I’m writing about “some people.” Obviously not every blogger out there does what I’m writing about, but I haven’t chosen to name names. Why? I don’t have anyone specific in mind. I’ve seen people do it, and if I search long enough I can probably find some great examples. But off the top of my head? I can’t name a specific blogger.

If you can, please name that blogger. Many of your readers will realize the person you mean anyway…so don’t call them “some people.”

I’ll say this as well – it depends on the point of your post. If you’re mentioning a comment in passing or giving an example of a situation, you don’t always have to name names because that’s not really what your post is about. “Some people” could be fine in those instances, simply because you don’t want to take the focus away from your main argument. What I’m proposing in this post is that you shouldn’t use “some people” if you’re writing a post in opposition to what a specific other person (or few other people) have written or what other people are doing.

Respect

In my opinion, naming names is all about respect. We don’t have to agree to be friends. Heck, we don’t even have to agree to both be right. Two people can have valid but different opinions. When you don’t name me, though, it somehow makes it seem like my idea is not as important as yours.

You don’t have to “call someone out.” In my opinion, disagreeing with someone is not the same. Calling someone out, to me, means that you’re attacking the person and their ideas, often relying on gossip and hurt feelings without any foundation in facts. It’s not a good thing. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with respectfully disagreeing with an opinion someone else posts, though – and I think part of showing respect is linking back to them.

Naming names instead of referring to “some people” is respectful to readers as well. Your readers might know the blogger you’re talking about, but this won’t always be the case. If you don’t give them the opportunity to check out the other side of the debate, you’re not presenting the best argument possible. Your readers have the right to make up their own minds, and the best way you can make sure this happens is by presenting the opposing opinion as well, and not just as you choose to summarize it. If you really do have a strong argument, you should feel confident allowing your readers to see the opposing viewpoint as written by someone just as passionate as you.

Credit Where Credit is Due

The blog posts that you write aren’t always inspired by what other bloggers are posting, but sometimes they are…and when that happens, that blogger deserves a little credit.

You can’t copyright an idea, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t give someone a little credit if they gave you the idea for a post of your own. That blogger writing about a concept inspired your to write a rebuttal of sorts. In my opinion, it’s just the right thing to do to link back to that initial blogger, citing their post as the reason you’re writing about the topic.

The Coincidental Mistake

In any niche, coincidences happen pretty regularly. Everyone talks about the same news stories, but beyond that, when you’re covering a topic that is more “evergreen,” you might find yourself posting about the same things as other people on the same day. I’ve been accused of copying ideas before, actually, but it was honestly just a matter of happenstance that we both published posts about the same subject with similar messages with a day or so of one another. I just don’t have time to read every blog every day, so sometimes coincidences happen.

The problem is, if you get into a habit of blogging about “some people” without naming names, people start to think that’s just what you do – you talk about people is a very behind-their-back type of way and present one-sided arguments to your readers without giving any type of credit. Then, when it actually is a case of coincidence, it seems like just another cowardly post on your behalf. On the other hand, if you’ve always posted links and have engaged in professional debate with your peers, most readers will give you the benefit of the doubt, not jumping to conclusions right away even if someone else recently posted on the same subject.

Finding the Confidence to Use Names

Without a doubt, naming names in any niche does require confidence. It is much easier to be more ambiguous, speaking your mind without as much risk that there will be any backlash. The truth of the matter, however, is that if everyone just agrees with you all the time, you probably aren’t being the best blogger you can be. Debate is part of what is so great about working online and connecting to people from all over the world.

Reread your post. If you wouldn’t say it to a person’s face, don’t say it online either. There’s no need to be rude. But don’t shy away from voicing your opinion, even if you agree with some pretty popular bloggers. If you do so in a respectful way, any mature blogger out there will appreciate your feedback and the chance for some friendly debate.

When Bloggers Turn Nasty: The Dark Side of Internet

Author:

Perhaps calling nasty bloggers “the dark side of the Internet” is a little melodramatic. I’m a melodramatic type of gal, I suppose. Recently, I’ve seen communities being torn apart over issues where they just simply don’t agree, and I have to wonder – is it worth it? Is getting our opinion out there worth losing friends or losing the respect of readers?

The answer to that question certainly isn’t easy.

This is my angry face. Internet comments, roar!

On one hand, I do fully believe that it is important to stand up for what you think is right. Right now, the whole WordPress versus Thesis debate is raging in this community, and a lot of bloggers are coming out of the woodwork to weigh in on the topic, myself included.

Unfortunately, it’s getting nasty. Strike that…it is nasty. We’re lucky enough here at the BlogWorld Expo blog to have awesome readers who know how to disagree respectfully (and even productively, since I’ve been getting ideas about possible solutions to the WP/Thesis problem). Not every blog has that kind of upstanding reader. Certainly, on Twitter, we’ve seen the lowest common denominator of the Internet flinging mud on both sides. And really, “mud” is a polite term for some of the tweets I’ve seen.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again – the anonymous nature of the Internet does not make it OK for you to be a jerk. Disagreeing respectfully is a must. We’re all adults here, after all. And, as writers, most of us can agree that freedom of speech is a good thing, even though it means extending that freedom to people who have differing opinions. It’s important to remember that this freedom comes with a responsibility to act like a mature adult, not a high school drama queen or, worse, screaming five-year-old.

The WP/Thesis debate is not the only one I’ve seen get ugly recently. I also just saw bloggers get totally out of hand in a relationship-based blogging community where people were debating about consent, dressing in a sexy manner, accountability when drinking, leading men on, etc. It turned into a giant mess, and there seemed to be no voice of reason standing out saying, “Wait a minute. We’re all adults. Let’s stop calling anyone with a dissenting opinion stupid.”

These are just two examples of the types of nasty blogging I see every single day. Even people that I respect get carried away sometimes, taking rude comments about disliking someone/something/some idea a step too far. It’s a fine line between voicing a dislike and bashing someone in an immature way.

As bloggers, I personally believe that we have a responsibility to behave with a little more class than we sometimes do. I’m guilty of this just like the rest of you. We get riled up about something that makes us passionate, and we explode, either by writing a strongly-worded blog post that goes too far or name-calling in a disrespectful comment on someone else’s website.

The real problem here lies with bloggers who forget to come back from that angry, nasty place, bloggers who perpetuate the negativity, and bloggers who don’t even have logical arguments anymore, just hating to hate.

I’m not suggesting that we sit around a campfire singing Kumbaya or have regular group hugs or something. Part of what makes a blogger a good blogger is his or her ability to voice an opinion. I am saying that it sometimes pays to take a step back from an angry, hurtful situation. I like to use the three-hour rule: when something makes me really upset, I wait three hours before writing a blog post about it or commenting on someone else’s blog post. Often, I’ve found that I’m not nearly as passionately mad about something three hours later; it was just an initial gut reaction. After some time to cool off, I can write a rational response.

In closing, here are my pleas to you, dear bloggers:

  • Try to see the other person’s point of view.
  • Attack an idea or opinion, not the whole person.
  • Read blog posts carefully and completely before commenting.
  • Avoid name-calling.
  • Be productive, offering solutions instead of just complaining.
  • Speak in a direct manner, not passive aggressively.
  • Be considerate of others’ feelings.

In short…be a grown up. Don’t be afraid to apologize if you’ve let something get out of hand, and above all, learn to let things go. Yes, even when you feel passionate about a topic. Letting something go doesn’t mean that it doesn’t matter, nor does it mean that you’re conceding to the other side. It just means that you’ve exhausted the debate. You can talk in circles forever, getting continually nastier, or you can move on to other topics.

The WP/Thesis debate isn’t going anywhere – and that’s ok. The same is true of other debates that are being hashed out between bloggers or readers. Just know when to hang your hat…or more accurately, when to hang your hate. As bloggers, we can make the Internet a more hostile place, or we can make it a more valuable, productive place. The choice is yours.

Allison Boyer is a writer for BWE’s blog and the owner/manager of After Graduation. She’s beginning to think that regular group hugs wouldn’t be a bad thing…and a blogger camping trip? Now that just sounds like fun.

Image (c) Allison Boyer.

Learn About NMX

NEW TWITTER HASHTAG: #NMX

Recent Comments

Categories

Archives