I Did My First Ban Today
It's not something I ever want to do.
When I started my newsletters, this one and Constant Commoner, I thought I could go without ever having to ban anyone. I thought surely anyone who took the time to subscribe to my newsletters would be doing it because they saw something in them that appealed to them.
Ha! Why would I think that??
So here I am today, exposing this guy:
This is the same guy, you may recall, who commented on my last Q&A, saying he doesn’t read other writers—which I of course questioned. (He hadn’t posted in his newsletter yet. He has since, and there’s nothing so far that would make me think he’s the same guy who wrote the comment above.)
Seems pretty innocuous, doesn’t it? So imagine my surprise when he went over to my more opinionated newsletter and wrote comments, including the above, on five of my posts, all either political or feminist-related. One after another this morning, from 8:53 AM to 9:12 AM. (How did he do it so fast??)
He wrote the last one after reading this post.
So he is blocked from both of my newsletters now. But when I look back on his comments here on Writer Everlasting, I see no clue that it would go that way. This is the last exchange we had in the Inspiration Q&A:
Clearly he went over to my more opinionated newsletter and became incensed when he found out who I really was. And now I know who he is.
I’m not writing this to bring anyone over to my side, but to talk about what our roles are as we write our newsletters. Do we keep on the straight and narrow, hoping to please our readers, no matter who they might be? Or do we follow our own paths, no matter where they might lead?
I don’t expect my readers to agree with my opinions, but most, if they’ve read my ‘About’ page, have been forewarned:
I see writers as advocates and witnesses, and you should know straight up that I’m a political animal of the Liberal persuasion, scared to death right now for the future of my country. Some of what you read here will, by necessity, be me ruminating on what’s happening. I don’t expect you to agree with everything—that would be foolish—but I’m opinionated by nature and by trade. Creative writing is my joy and my respite, and political writing is my calling. I’ll be doing both. I have two sections now; Creative Writing and Politics and Advocacy. So, you can enter either one or make your choice.
Note: I added ‘of the Liberal persuasion’ just now, in case there’s any question. I’m not making apologies for it—it’s who I am—just making sure potential subscribers know enough about me to make wise decisions.
I know many of you choose to stay away completely from political opinions and controversy, but I’m an old Liberal Feminist from the Midwest and I’ve been at this for far too long to suddenly erase that HUGE part of me in order to draw readers.
If writing freely is our goal, part of that will always show up in our opinions. They’re going to be there, if even subtly, because we live in a world that requires constant examination. Part of what makes communities successful is the sheer diversity, and that means diversity of thought, too. I get that.
You might say the commenter I just banned was writing freely. I see the conflict there. But the difference is in the way he chose to address our differences. When I write opinion pieces I’m inviting my readers to give their opinions. I never know which way they’re going to go, but I hope they’re at least civil—and until now they always have been.
So can we talk about this? What are your feelings about opinions and comments? Should I have banned him? Should I have plastered his comments on this page without giving him a chance to respond? What exactly do I owe my readers?
The comment section is open, as always. Can’t wait to hear from you.
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