No Post Day: Just Two Questions About Blogging And No Freaky HTML


“High School Confidential”; ‘Avoid Freud‘, Rough Trade (1981)
she makes me cream my jeans when she comes my way.

I am totally ripping this idea off from Anita Marie, who mostly blogs at Irregular Bones. I’m going no frills — no fricking html formatting* and no mind-tearing truths** for a whole day. Ah, No Post Day… bliss.

I just have two questions for anyone willing to answer. Last night I left a long comment on a blog I don’t read as often as I’d like. When I comment on a blog where I don’t know the blogger I get nervous… like I’m about to walk into a job interview nervous. Like I’m about to ask a woman over for coffee and heavy petting nervous. I’m not sure it’s a “fight or flight” thing, but I know when I’m on the Lithium my reactions to certain situations seem different. Like adrenalin kind of triggers some weirdness in the stability of my body. As I was writing the response on the blog last night, for example, my neck was seizing and my left hand was shaking a little more than usual. The response itself was, kind of, a defence of the blogger. They had been unreasonably — in my opinion — attacked so I was being a little… ‘forceful’ in my response, so maybe there was a “fight or flight” response in there. But the nerves, the stomach stuff and the really, really heavy self-doubt about the quality of my response hits every time I post a comment for the first time…

There’s also a blog I comment on fairly frequently, but I never get responses back… which kind of bugs me. But the dude never erases them, so I figure I’m doing alright and continue to post responses. In 11.5 months of blogging on WordPress I’ve only ever erased one response… a good friend of mine left a 2100+ word response to someone else’s comment. ‘Good Friend’ has bouts of paranoia and an irrational hatred of all things American (and French Canadian), and his comment was just utter fucking nonsense and insulting to many blogger friends of mine. So I axed it… I gave him the option to rewrite, but his response was “you can’t handle my truths”, then he went and smoked his three grams of weed — seriously, he smokes three grams a day. He’s actually a government licensed weed dealer… it’s not too late to move to Canada.

I’ve never considered any of the comments on any of my blogs to be personal attacks. Even during that weird Ic@rus moment a few months ago the swearing took place on their site. So across my three blogs I’ve received 2,053 non-spam responses, and only burned one. I know I’ve been extremely fortunate because I’ve read attacks on other blogs. Trolls, morons, idiots, passive aggressive pieces of dog waste… but I’ve noticed a lot of people will leave the negative and insulting comments on their blogs. Sometimes, of course, the blogger has a witty, funny and devastating response that only makes sense with the dumbass comment still there. I’ve even seen one blog where the blogger takes all the vowels out of the offending comment. But a lot of the time it seems to me it would just be easier to erase the message and move on.

So my two questions are:

1) what would it take for you to erase a non-spam response, and;

2) What do you go through the first time you respond to a blog you’ve enjoyed for awhile?

*there was some html… but only because the default text size for this theme is silly.

**that stuff about “fight or flight” was kind of personal.

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About Gabriel...

...diagnosed with manic depression in 1989, for the next 14-years I lived without treatment or a recovery plan. I've been homeless, one time I graduated college, I've won awards for reporting on Internet privacy issues, and a weekly humour column. In 2002 I finally hit bottom and found help. I have an 8-year old son, and a 4-year old son... I’m usually about six feet tall, and I'm pretty sure I screwed up my book deal. I mostly blog at saltedlithium.com....
This entry was posted in Bipolar, Bipolar Disease, Bipolar Disorder, crazy people with no pants, Depression, Health, Lithium, Living With Depression, Living With Manic Depression, Manic Depression, Medical Marijuana, No Post Day. Bookmark the permalink.

18 Responses to No Post Day: Just Two Questions About Blogging And No Freaky HTML

  1. Anita Marie says:

    Hey there Gabriel,
    I keep it simple (ahem ).
    If the comment mean or nasty- and you know as a writer what fits into a ‘story’ then I delete it. Okay, it keeps things nice and safe but I like for people to feel that way so that they will talk- I mean disagree but I think that if it gets mean no one wants some of that and it just attracts other mean comments

    It’s all about moderating a discussion.

    When I comment for the first time on a blog, I just tell it like it is ( for me ). That way if someone responds or not I know that I was honest and civil and I don’t have to ‘worry’ about what I said.

    Now have fun…it’s Aloha Friday you know
    Anita Marie

  2. thordora says:

    I’ve never deleted anything yet. Never had anything that nasty, and it does take a LOT to offend me anyway.

    And if it’s a blog I like, I don’t do anything special. I’m always happy to get comments, and I figure that others feel the same. If something has really moved me, then I point it out.

    Of course, I’m fairly unexcited most of the time anyway. 😛

  3. justinmohareb says:

    I, too, will delete particularly mean and obnoxious comments. Usually it’s a case of people getting a little aggressive to each other, in which case I usually will call for a time out.

    Occasionally there are some that could be considered mean and obnoxious that I retain, but that involves taking into account the relationship I have with the person and their well being.

  4. Lori says:

    I’m always ripping off ideas from AM. She’s got good ones to rip! 🙂

  5. damewiggy says:

    i’ve done both, deleted (or permanently bounced people as spam) and i’ve included some. i’m seldom consistent (with anything, period.) but i have had a couple situations that became pretty blatant personal harassment. one spaz even set up a blog strictly to dissect my posts after i had blocked them. i’d ignore and ignore, but it wouldn’t go away, so eventually i lashed out, then regretted it. bad vibes. i try not to participate. but we all have off days. sometimes i take things very personally, depending on where i’m at in that particular point of my hellish existence.

    i’ve only had a couple occasions where i’ve stressed a bit about commenting — i felt a bit eh, i dunno, intimidated by the author (she was a bit snobbish, often referring to herself as an accomplished academic) self proclaimed elitists tend to freak me out. and make my tummy hurt.

  6. I think idiocy annoys me more than blatant offense. After all, offense can be funny whereas idiocy is just frustrating. I usually only delete when idiocy seems likely to spill over from one post to another. Fortunately this has only really happened once.

    There’s a couple of different ways I comment – either really easily (as now) or with great difficulty, deleting and rewriting. I’m not sure what determines the difference though.

  7. Freya says:

    On my previous blog I’ve deleted comments that directly attacked other visitors and their comments or my daughter. If it’s me, I leave it up and respond if appropriate. I didn’t have many readers so wasn’t too much of a hassle.

  8. Freya says:

    OH, and when commenting for the first time on other blogs it usually takes a post I react strongly to take that step. Then, when I do, I just write what’s on my mind, nothing out of the ordinary.

  9. benji1974 says:

    Ahh… comments, something I don’t have to worry about because I’m an utter idiot when it comes to my posting. Most of the time when I even enter a discussion thread (in one of my communities) when I post on something, it ends pretty abruptly. I guess I just have bad juju in that area.

    So for me the only thing I can add to this is I can’t stand spammers and people that don’t have a relevant point of view on a topic. I don’t like it when cross talk has to happen in a thread because there’s no other way to get a hold of people, and yes I am a culprit of that myself, it makes my skin crawl to do something like that though.

    As far as commenting for the first time, I’m one that finds it hard to walk a mile in someones shoes through their writing. So there are a lot of blogs that I don’t post on and only read occasionally because I just don’t have the attention span for it. Which is strange because I can easily come up with 800-900 word blog entries for myself any given day but don’t ask me to go back over what I’ve written during the week. It just doesn’t happen. That’s a problem that’s in my head though, been like that for the most part of my life. Guess that’s why I would get so bored with a lot of topics in school.

  10. nursemyra says:

    I like it when people leave comments. my blog stats tell me I have a megaton of readers every day but I only get about a dozen comments per post.

    don’t know why that is – I’m not scary.

    and I really like your blog 🙂

  11. Gabriel... says:

    I have to stop posting just before I pass out. Waking up to responses is fantastic, but not great for conversations.

    Thanks for letting us all rip you off, Anita Marie. If it wasn’t for your ideas we’d have no ideas at all.

    “…one spaz even set up a blog strictly to dissect my posts after i had blocked them.”

    Dame, that’s pretty much what the Icxrus kids did with one of my posts. Frustrated the crap out of me. But, as dumb as their comments were, it wasn’t an ongoing or overtly personal thing, and they weren’t vicious, just morons. How long did the Insane Person continue harrassing you?

    “…when I post on something, it ends pretty abruptly.”

    Check it out Bryan, you responded and we’re still going… you’ve always left relevent and interesting comments here and everywhere else I’ve seen your avatar. A lot of times I’ll talk myself out of commenting, even after I’ve typed it up in the little box. The blog I mentioned as the one I post responses on but never get a response from, has Salted Lithium in his blogroll, so that’s another thing that makes it weird.

    The other blog, the one I responded on for the first time as kind of a defense of their blog, actually ended up appreciating my comment. But until I saw their positive response in the “My Comments” section I was feeling honest-to-God dread.

    It’s not just In Here, it’s also a problem Out There. I ran into the wife of a friend of mine at the Post Office yesterday and I felt exposed and trapped. It — being an introvert — has always been a problem but I honestly think it was hidden by the Manic phases. But, with the pills, no more manics…

    ExChimp: Oh holy crap, dude I edit like a fiend on most comments… then I hit the ‘Submit’ button and see the twelve totally obvious mistakes get posted under my name. Or, worse, I see I totally misjudged the topic. Do-Over’s, we need Do-Over’s.

    Freya I saw some of the comments you had to erase… I’ve been very, very lucky to have the people I’ve had over here. I don’t know if I could survive the BS you and some others have had to go through… well, maybe I’d survive but I’d probably get caught for what my reaction would be and spend a lot of time in jail.

    Thanks, Nurse Myra. I don’t know, you’ve got a pretty dedicated posting audience. Your site is funny and interesting, but I can see where you might attract a certain level of voyeurism… or at least a certain percentage of your readers may be a little too submissive to be commenting in public.

    Hey Mohareb, what the [comment edited for profanity]. And then I’ll […that’d be impossible], and tie your [well that’s just blasphemy] around your two-inch [impossible again]… yeah that’s right, straight through your mothers [totally uncalled for] and back out your ballsack. [snipped] a sucker, that’s right a child’s sticky sucker dripping with [that’s not even a word] jammed straight into the lobe of your [someone call the police] while listening to Three Dog Night’s Shambala and Love’s Theme by Barry White. Get a blog you [holy crap].

  12. Nita says:

    guess I am late for this discussion, but I was away for the week-end.
    Great discussion!
    Well, I get my share of nasty comments and I delete them because I do not like to waste my energy answering them. The nasty comments are not necessarily directed at me…but at other commentators as well. This starts a war of abuses and I don’t want wars. It ruins any intelligent discussion.
    For example on a recent post of mine on the caste system I got this comment:
    “Dalits rock and Brahmins suck.”
    I deleted it straightaway because if I had published it you would get people from the other side writing their rubbish. ALL such comments are from those who have obviously fake names. Clearly these people are cowards anyway.
    About commenting…I comment on a blog I read straightaway. After reading just 1-2 posts. I may not continue to comment though if I don’t get a response after 2-3 comments. However if the post is very interesting, I do go ahead. No rules.
    Gabriel you said you were in internet security. I want to ask you a question then..what’s all this about using fake names? Why do people do it? What can happen if you use your real name? I have read posts (including one on your blog) about the necessity of creating a fake identity…I have never quite understood it. I mean, are we ordinary people more in danger than the celebrities and other known people out there, including journalists and the like? Who are we supposed to be afraid of? Or am I being naive?

  13. Gabriel... says:

    I wouldn’t say naive… also, I wasn’t “in” security, I covered Internet privacy issues for a few years. I’m not a “doer”, I don’t produce “stuff”, I’ve never participated in making the world a “better place” or “created” “things”, I’m just a reporter. I write about people who “do” stuff I don’t understand, I’m a “parasite”, a “leech”, someone who gets paid very little money to write criminally short articles which may cause “misunderstandings” and “hatred” towards “others” who “do”.

    This is a little complicated. First, even if all I was doing was writing on Cultural Snafu — politics, journalism, music and so on — I’d be still be using a pseudonym. When I started blogging last year I didn’t want certain members of my family reading Salted Lithium, so my full name is nowhere on any of my sites. But even if I didn’t care if my family knew about what I was writing, I’d still be anonymous because I don’t want to receive phone calls or visits from people who read my blogs and think I’m inviting them over when all I’m doing is leaving an emoticon.

    If I have the full name of someone living in Canada, Europe, Australia and the United States I can, in a matter of a click or two, find your home phone number, address and a map to your home. It’s that easy. But there’s also the slightly more difficult search…

    Recently there was a meme going around started by Thordora where people were asking five questions. A couple of people asked me to do so, but I went a little overboard on the research. Using only a person’s first name and the name of their blog, I found: their entire dating history, their job history, their family history, their medical history, their personal blog, their responses on other blogs, I followed discussion strings they had taken part in and I found several private photos they had posted on other web sites and blogs. She had been online since 2003 and it took about twenty minutes until I had every detail about her life. Again, using only her first name and her blog name.

    A few weeks ago a bunch of new recruits for the Canadian Border Services were disciplined over their Facebook group. They had posted photos of themselves drunk, they wrote about using drugs and not knowing anything about being a border guard, they even posted about how they hated French Canadians… all under their own names and from their home, school and work computers.

    When people apply for jobs, human resources firms across Europe, Canada and the United States are now searching the Internet for your footprints. There have been several cases in the US where people have been denied or even lost jobs because of their blogs, Facebook and MySpace jobs.

    There’s someone who blogs with us who, very recently, and very tragically, lost access to her children over her Manic Depression Recovery Blog.

    In terms of privacy, even something as innocuous as using a photo hosting service can put you at risk. A Canadian woman with a Flickr account used to show photos of her four-year old child to friends and family did a “Google / Ego Search” using her child’s name. She found an Argentinian web site with those photos of her son next to very suggestive, nearly-pornographic poetry.

    I would never want to suggest a person be “afraid” while writing their personal beliefs, thoughts or opinions on the Internet… just that they be careful and mindful that nothing on the Internet is “secure” or “private” or even enjoys any kind of “copyright”. The Creative Commons thing, for example, is entirely based on the honour system. Any online copyright system, like Copyscape — which, really, is a joke — depends entirely on the laws of the country the thief resides in and the Internet laws of tech-savvy countries like Canada are nearly nonexistent. Sure, plagerism and libel laws are in place, but even those laws almost never extend across borders under the best of circumstances.

    In the Canadian woman’s Flickr case, for example, her only recourse to have the photos taken down would be over copyright infringement, but that means getting a lawyer in Argentina to fight the web site. She’d also have to prove her Flickr account wasn’t an open forum. There have been several Flickr people who have found their work has become a part of an ad campaign because graphic designers are using PhotoBucket and Flickr as free art-banks… including a fourteen-year old British girl who, last spring, found a photo of herself being used to market porn in the United States.

    I could go on for days… unfortunately for my friends and family there are days when I do, and don’t even get me started on the government and corporate privacy issues… if you use a credit or debit card, or use a chequing account to make your purchases, the purchase information is collected by third-party firms contracted by the banks and retailers. The information is then turned into a profile of your shopping habits. So the company knows every thursday you shop for tampons, milk and People Magazine. It then hands that information back to the retailers and banks so they can target their services to you and your demographic. Thing is… taa-daaa, all that information is now handed over to governments. In the US the Homeland Security Agency uses that information, plus the information gathered by the intellignce agencies like the FBI and NSA, to create files on dudes living in America. But your government does it as well.

    Man… I could write this shit for days.

  14. thordora says:

    I don’t use my real name online, but I have always known that it wouldn’t take long to figure out who I am. And really, if someone wants to know that bad, have at it. I don’t care that much.

    But the illusion of privacy and safety people have on the internet is scary, for all the reasons you’ve detailed above.

  15. Nita says:

    That stuff sends a chill down my spine.
    But ofcourse I don’t believe in writing personal stuff online, no not because of the issues you mentioned, but because I am an intensely private person. The only personal stuff I have online is on my About page which I usually include in my resume anyway. True, in comments something personal slips out…I need to be careful about that now. In fact from now on, I am going to be very very careful.
    I guess in India too one would be able to locate the address and tel no. of a person, although it may not be that easy. But I guess I am not that important a person that someone could try to locate me!
    Thanks Gabriel and sorry to take you off-topic.

  16. Gabriel... says:

    I don’t think we’re too far off topic. Besides, I really like discussing this stuff.

    With the language barrier you’ve got a good defense against cyber-stalking… there’s also a certain level of tech / connectivity needed, my parents just got back from France where there are no more hard-copy telephone books, everything’s online now. India still has a way to go in terms of getting information online. Canada’s only half and half.

    Believe it or not I’m actually a fairly private person. The things I write about on Salted are here precisely because I can’t discuss them offline. But I’ve taken precautions so if someone Google’s my real name these sites won’t come up, and when someone Google’s my blog names my real name doesn’t pop up. But you and a few others know both.

    You could always test it out by typing your name, or the name of someone you know who has a decent Web presence, into Google or Ask.com and following the links. It’s a skill you should probably have as a researcher. Use descriptive words along with the names just to see what happens… for example, when I type Nita+Blog into Google you’re on page six (which is pretty good actually). But if I add India, so Nita+India Blog, you’re the first link.

    There was a guy who was harrassing people on ExChimp’s blog and all he left was his first name and the organization he received a… ‘health’ certificate from and I was able to — in less than thirty minutes — find his home address and phone number.

    If you know the word combinations and you’re willing to spend the time you can find anything anyone has left on the Web… thing is, you don’t know what’s out there about you until you look.

    Is your name in the phone book? Chances are very good your number and address are online. Belong to a group or association? If they’ve got a website there’s a good chance your personal information is on it… if you play on a sports team I can probably find out the score of your last game and when your next game starts, which means I can show up and watch. Ever sign up for a dating website? All that information you gave them goes somewhere…

    This is the very real concern about MySpace and Facebook. I call them “Stalker Sites”. Random Dude gets a look at some kids MySpace page and Random knows everything about their daily life — school schedule, sports schedule, name of their school and friends — then Random Google’s them and now Random knows where the kid lives. Then Ranny heads over to MapQuest and gets a route to the kids home. This stuff happens.

    There’s a movement starting in the US to start giving people Internet ID’s, so no more anonymity online. It’s not government, it’s actually some of the larger social sites like MySpace, Facebook and Second Life which are seriously looking into the idea. There was an attempt about five years ago to do something similar… there was a company which would provide users with an ID Card they swiped when they surfed, but there was almost zero funding so it went nowhere. OpenID is kind of a low rent version.

    I really don’t like the idea of leaving personal information in the hands of any organization… even one which may turn out to be altruistic. I even lie when I start a Yahoo/Gmail/Hotmail account. According to the info they have I’m an 84-years old female American astronaut living in the 90210 Zip Code.

    I can keep going for days on this…

  17. markps2 says:

    RE :Q2)The adrenaline rush of posting on the internet oh ya baby!!!

  18. Pingback: My Thanks To You On The First Anniversary Of Salted Lithium… YAY YOU. « …salted lithium.

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