The more you blog and share your opinions when you blog, the greater the likelihood an anonymous party will disagree with you in a non-collegial manner. That’s a polite way of saying you’re going to get damn near slandered. If you want to disagree with something I write, and ACRLog readers do all the time, I respect your right to do so. Use the comment box to share your thoughts and challenge my ideas, but do keep it collegial and add to the discourse. When an anonymous blogger makes a personal attack or invents a few false accusations, that’s downright nasty. When it happened to me my initial reaction was to respond to the attack. It’s only natural to want to defend yourself. But I knew that would probably be a losing proposition so I decided to ignore it and move past the incident.
Based on something I just read in the July 2008 issue of WIRED I’m glad I took the high road. In this month’s Mr. Know-It All column (see letter #2) a restauranteur wanted to know how to handle a nasty, slanderous and anonymous review of his restaurant that was placed on Yelp, the review site. I thought that WIRED’s Mr. Know-It All gave some good advice on how to handle the urge to attack in return:
No one enjoys being raked over the coals by a pseudonymous commentator, especially when the attacker is motivated by hostility rather than honest disagreement. But don’t credit your detractor with too much influence. You need to trust in the sophistication of online-savvy consumers – specifically their ability to see the big picture and factor out aberrant comments.
So I will take this to heart. If one person wants to attack me anonymously, that’s fine. I can balance that with the dozens of well-meaning colleagues who e-mail me or talk to me at conferences to let me know that they derive value from my blogs, or they’ll mention a particular post that inspired them. I really appreciate that, and want to thank those of you who have taken the time to share your thoughts. It really means a great deal to any blogger to know that someone appreciates the time and effort he or she puts into their blogging.