July 26, 2007

Not Cool

Guest Post by
Anonymous Purple Woman

One of the greatest things about the Internet is the way you can connect with others to share ideas and points of view; however, I have been forced to question this recently because of my experience on my own blog. There are some people out there that I definitely do not want to deal with.

Here’s my story:

I’m twenty nine. For a few years I’ve realized that I don’t want to have my own children. Though I’ve done quite a bit of volunteer work with children, I’m just not willing to cope with them 24/7. This wasn’t something that I discussed with people. In fact it didn’t arise as an issue until I married two years ago and started being perceived in a new way – as a potential mother. Just before I got engaged I started my blog as a personal diary. I wrote about issues that I cared about which, after I married, increasingly included the difficulties being childfree in a child filled world.

Like many of us, I got the kid question and the condescending response “of course you’ll change your mind”. The more people asked the more infuriating it became. So, as many people do, I took it out in the blog, writing down what I wanted to say to people, if only they would listen.
When I found relevant articles in the press I would link them and comment on them. At first, I didn’t have problems with comments. When I said something that people didn’t agree with they did weigh in, but in a civil way, stating why they disagreed. I was happy to respond.

When my posts became more personal, someone got angry. One post of mine in particular about "bad experiences with parents in public places who ignore the effect their children have on others" was linked to their website and mocked. Now this person has a “weekly feature” making fun of my posts has started. It’s all very high school. Other posts on this anonymously authored site mock local TV personalities and café owners. I don’t know who the psycho is who is doing this, but I do know that it makes me miserable that they are getting their kicks this way.

Reasonable discussion isn’t an option when someone is calling you a bad person. Or is it? I’d be very interested in your point of view.

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Elise said...

Gosh, Anonymous,

What an ordeal. I'm so sorry you've had to experience this simply because somebody else apparently needs a nasty hobby.

Keep your head up.

Lynn said...

Sorry you've had to go through this, Anonymous. How pathetically juvenile they sound.
If it's any consolation, whoever's doing this is showing themselves up for the idiot they are, whether they realize it or not. . .

Sara said...

Hello anonymous,

This sounds pretty bad. This person has an obsession with you. I am a member of some "snark" websites, but they tend to have a large variety of people being made fun of from their posts in other communities, but it is never the same person getting teased over and over, and it is very rarely a post from someones personal journal that is snarked.

I am not sure of the tone of the website you are speaking of, but perhaps you could contact the owner, and calmly tell them that while you understand the point of the site fully, you wonder if it would be possible if they would stop allowing the posting snarks of your journal and links to your journal so often.

M said...

I'm working on a post that touches on this issue somewhat and I've thought about it a bit. I think what you describe is something that, sadly, is quite common online.

We can't control what others do and say in response to our writing or our speech or our actions. I say just ignore this person, and continue to use your journal as you see fit. Don't visit the site, and just know that out of all the people there are in the world, surely a few have to be at odds with your view. Don't take it personally.

I don't think it has to do with being childfree so much as online, there is always someone acting in a less than praiseworthy manner, and all of us who blog and read blogs have to deal with it in some way or other.

Stay strong, keep writing, and who cares what this one person thinks. Hell, they are probably as bothered by you as you are by them, otherwise why waste their time writing about you once a week!

Hope this helps a bit--I don't mean to dismiss your problem, but just wanted to put it into context. I hope it doesn't offend you or seem silly.

AlphaGirl said...

Hi Anonymous-

There is no reasonable discussion with unreasonable parties. Unfortunately, a lot of unsavory folk get their kicks out of online stalking/harassment.

Depending on your blog vendor(blogspot, LiveJournal, WordPress, etc.) you can ajust the comment settings to allow moderation of comments. You can also contact the administrator/abuse team if the troll is making threat or otherwise violating the Terms of Use for that site. They should be able to track it by the user's ISP and act accordingly.

If it's some random person trolling your blog to stir up trouble, adjusting your comments settings should do the trick. Don't reply, don't engage them; they are looking for a reaction. Much like a screaming kid in the store who is throwing a fit ;)

Best of luck to you! Feel free to email me off-list; my blog is linked to this site.

Britgirl said...

It's a real shame you've had to undergo what to me is vile, spiteful and frankly envious treatment. It's interesting reading this because I have just done a post called "Why do Anti-childfree people visit Childfree blogs? It's had some interesting feedback - and, as it's been linked to, the feedback is on other blogs as well.

I hope you can check it out as you may find some comfort in knowing that you aren't alone in receiving that kind of crap. (Teri could you please fix the link as I think it may be wonky?)
If the link doesn't work just do a search on Like It Is.

We have a rather interesting way of dealing with the anti-childfree flamers on Like It Is. :-)Suffice it to say they are a nuisance but they don't last long there.

To your point about on whether reasoned discussion is possible when someone is busy slagging you off. I think the answer is no.
No "reasonable" person would treat another that way . A bully would as would one who clearly has issues and needs to get a life. If you felt so inclined you could email this person and tell her that you find her behaviour offensive, but it may not help.

I am hoping you do all the usual - such as blocking their details so that they cannot leave comments (don't know what platform you use, I use Wordpress and I have banned certain IP addresses and urls), their or rather all - comments are moderated by default - so you can simply delete and flag them as spam. That, however is on your blog. You can control what happens there, but not on their blog. Except for the fact that you can also write to their ISP and complain that someone is writing harrassing, personal stuff about you. I don't know what the T +Cs are and it may not bring anything, but it's something to consider. You might want also to have a disclaimer on your site with a comment policy. I have one on mine if you are looking for inspiration.

One great (and brave) thing you have done is to allow your experience to be published here... because not only will it be seen here but I'll link to it so my readers can also be aware and maybe their comments can be of some encouragement to you.

I would NOT allow this to stop you blogging - which is probably what they want you to do because for some reason what you say brings out the worst in them. But that is their problem. They would be only too pleased if they succeeded in making you cease blogging about being childfree. But that would send the message that mean spiteful bullying behaviour works. The best thing you can do is keep on blogging, keep on doing what you want to do - and refuse to get engaged with this woman.Try your best to ignore her - don't feed the troll. Hopefully they will tire of juvenile pastime. They don't seem to realize that it really makes them look idiotic.

Sadly, as others have said we all have to deal with these (bad word) people.

Take heart - blogging has enabled you to share your experience with other childfree people - and we support you 101%..has to be worth 10 of her. At least!

Mercurior said...

i echo all the comments here, dont let them change how you do your blog, if they do then they win.

i dont apologise anymore, its my life, my choice, my decision. if they dont like it then, i would tell them to get lost, and ignore any other comments.

keep on blogging.

Anonymous said...

Thank you all. It has been a horrible experience, especially as this person clearly lives and works close to me, but as you say there really isn't anything I can do about their blog. It is their problem, right? Your encouragement means a lot to me.

Anonymous said...

Dear Anonymous,

I just want to add my support to the other comments here. Continue with your blog and don't waste your energy and thought on such negativity. It's too draining and exactly what this troll wants. I really believe people who act this way are insecure in their own lives. For a moment imagine what it must be life to live in a mind filled with such poison. Yuck! You either affect people or infect people in your life and this person is definitely infectious. Do what you can to protect yourself using the excellent suggestions here and take heart that although there are trolls in the world, there are also supportive folks like us. Remember that although trolls are loud and obnoxious, they are NOT the majority. I believe decent and caring people are the majority on the Internet, we're just a little more polite and quiet about it! My best wishes to you! Stay strong!


Anonymous said...

Diaries used to be private - you kind of have to expect this kind of thing when you write your innermost thoughts publicly. Not everyone out there is a nice person. If it bothers you enough, make your diary entries private.

- Anna

Anne-Marie said...

I just wanted to add to your posts of support and echo what others have said. This is your blog, and you should be able to say what you like. I would also add that refusing to take the bait is sometimes effective, but if you feel that lines are being crossed, contacting the person's ISP and reporting abusive behaviour is highly recommended.

I will simply never understand why people have the energy to engage in all this negativity. Surely the world is big enough for divergent views.


brightfeather said...

I'm likewise writing to encourage you not to let these juvenile breeders get you down. You have a right to express your opinions and many of us are in agreement with them.

Remain calm - Stay Strong - Tell it like it is. :)

Teri said...

There, you see? You have more friends out here and support than you can imagine! Sorta puts the wonky ones, (to use a term borrowed from BritGirl) in perspective.

Here's the URL to her fab-o blog called Like It Is:


See her July 23, 2007 post titled:
Why Do Anti-Childfree People Visit Childfree Blogs?.

I have no idea how to place the live link here using Blogger. I'd appreciate an email from someone in the know if you have the time to teach remotely.

Remember, "Don't feed trolls!"

Athena said...

I have started a childfree blog of my own, just about why I am childfree and I often write about my freetime and weekends I enjoyed and so on.
But at the moment I'm keeping it private.
I would love to available for people who are childfree or weighing up the options and trying to decide if having kids is for them or not or even parents who are OK about others having different lifestyles and priorities and so on to them to be able to read and enjoy.

I put pictures in some of it, e.g. a photo of a DVD or eating place I liked a lot etc.

But I am worried of trolls attacking it and saying negative things about me being childfree!

I am sorry you've been through this and I hope it's resolved and also that you attract more positive comments than negative ones.

I respect people who say "your life choices are not for me but I respect yours and it's interesting hearing about them" that kind of thing - like some parents comment on childfree things that they are happy being parents but they realise it's not for everyone etc. But people who put nasty comments on it, ugh!

Making a blog is fun but it can be a lot of work. This person could easily go to sites where people think like them rather than attacking you and for your sake I wish they would!