Making What Was Clear Before Even More So

A number of people seemed somewhat surprised at the alacrity with which I stomped on commenter Gretchen’s head the other day, when I judged her comment to me to be out of line. I, on the other hand, am somewhat surprised that people are surprised about it. In my opinion (which is the only one that counts for these things) she was attempting to tell me how to do things on my own site. What happens in those sorts of instances is covered quite explicitly in my Site Disclaimer and Comment Policy, in which I write: “I run this site as I please. You do not get a vote. If you try to suggest that you do, I may be rude to you.”

The reason I note this fact in the site disclaimer and comment policy is because, in fact, it is very likely I will be rude to you in this specific circumstance. Because it is likely, and because I believe that people should be aware of this aspect of my personality, the better to avoid it, I try to make it easy for people to discover this fact. Which is why, as previously noted, the site disclaimer and comment policy is linked to on every page generated by the WordPress install. Since I feel the notation is amply accessible, I also feel free to unload on someone I see acting in a manner in which I don’t approve. Because, well, they were warned.

Be that as it may, and because I continue to aspire toward clarity regarding the policies and rules of the site, I’ve included yet another link to the site disclaimer and comment policy, which you will find directly above the actual comment field, right next to the words “Leave a Reply.” And the words of the link exhort people to read at the link. It’s pretty damn clear at this point, I think.

Hopefully, this will help to avoid further unpleasantness in the future, and this site can get back to being the warm puddle of love and comity it is most of the time. Mmmmm… love puddles.

82 Comments on “Making What Was Clear Before Even More So”

  1. I think my idea is better:
    It would be better if you ran this site as you pleased. NO ONE else gets a vote. If anyone tries to suggest that they do, You might be rude to them.”

    It’s just a suggestion, I’m not telling you to change any polocies or nuttin’.

  2. No, I use “you” as opposed to “no one else” because there are a sufficient number of people out there who believe they do not actually exist in the subset “no one else.” This way there is not the slightest ambiguity.

  3. With all due respect John, I humbly submit that the incentives you are providing us are at odds with the behavior you seem to wish to encourage. Your smackdowns are too bloody literate and entertaining! It nearly makes me want to step out of line just to appreciate the fine style of the ensuing rudeness.

  4. Yeah, but I can usually tell when people are just doing it to make me explode with rage.

  5. john @ # 2, that’s funny!

    side note. I’ve been corrected by you before and it never hurt my feelings. I appreciate the fact that your letting me play in your backyard and if you want to decide what game we play and how it’s played then that’s the game we’ll play. If I don’t like it I can play in my own backyard. My backyard sucks!

  6. Willy: “No one” else may be slightly inaccurate, anyway. I sense that Scalzi grants the franchise to his wife and daughter, at least on entries pertaining to them. He even asked his wife for permission to tape bacon to his cat.

  7. The funny thing is, it doesn’t seem to be clear, at least not some of the commenters over at the LJ thread.

    From what I can tell, he just wanted you to apologize, stating that you didn’t mean for things to come across rudely. That you meant to word it better, in such a way as, “Could you please word it in a way that would come across less inflammatory, as it may end up setting off some of the more moderate CF who already get enough flack as it is?”

    Call me crazy, but I got the distinct impression that you’d explode with rage regardless of how politely someone phrased a “please change your behavior on The Whatever” request.

    Still, in the future kindly avoid confusing us with your muddy explanations of site policy…

  8. … is what I’d say if I were looking to pick a fight!

    Ha ha! See, I’m just being funny! You laughed, right?

    (please don’t hurt me)

  9. See? This is one of the reasons I don’t comment as much as I used to – Scalzi is MEAN. And meanness makes the baby flying spaghetti monster cry.

    Also, I’m lazy. Too lazy to link to Jim M’s excellent description of Yog and his minions over on Making Light, at any rate. But you get what I mean.

  10. What surprised me were the people who thought “kindly refrain” was a polite formulation.

    What didn’t surprise me were the people on the LJ community who posted things like “Now I’m never going to read his books!” As if the power to maybe buy someone’s novel someday was an effective way to control their behavior.

  11. Just remind them that librarians have forced them at the point of a gun to pay for Zoe’s Tale to be purchased for the kid’s section of their local libraries. So they are powerless, powerless, I tell you, muhhaahahaha….

  12. Harry Connolly:

    Yes, I’ve not heard “kindly [verb][thing]” ever used in a polite fashion, actually. Generally it’s condescending and intended to establish a power relationship. It’s possible Gretchen wasn’t aware of this; as noted elsewhere, not everyone understands precisely what they’re saying.

    As for the “never buy his books” thing, it’s been addressed before. It’s another thing that doesn’t work well on me.

  13. I’m not on vacation, I’m on the summer posting schedule. There’s a difference!

  14. Somehow, I fail to see any substantial difference between your summer posting schedule and that of any other season. ;)

  15. I’ve actually posted less this last week. It’s just that everything I post is gold.

  16. Not to tell you what to do with your own site or anything but kindly please post more pictures of dolphins. And when are you going to wise up and write one of those great Star Trek or Dragonlance novels, everyone loves those. You should do that to.

  17. Are the ninja’s some kind of prize? Do I get to kept them? Can I exchange them if I don’t like the color? I hope they are childfree ninjas.

  18. This is an excellent example of the benefits of benevolent dictatorship… There is exactly one rule — don’t piss off the dictator. Everything else is fair game. WTF is so hard about one rule?

    Personally, I’ve been thinking that having a pair of Obin who regard me as a religious figure would be a solution to many of these problems.

  19. Dude – giraffe ninjas, what a concept! I bet they could get up to all sorts of awsome hijinx. You should write a novel about them. Old Giraffe’s War or something. Yeah, a big green giraffe ninja fighting a war against trolls. I smell sci-fi classic!

  20. Blog Rule #1: Who owns the blog makes the rules.

    Pretty darn simple and basic.

    The condescension factor aside (and I agree entirely that “Kindly please” always seems to precede a demand, not a request) one notes that the difference between a humble request and a frosty demand is generally the presence of a question mark at the end of the statement, modified by the tone leading into same.

    Kindly please keep your effing penguin grammar ninjas to your effing self.

    As compared to:

    Kindly please don’t dispatch penguin grammar ninjas in my cowering insignificant direction?

    That last is my polite request. Penguins have no mercy, and I have no defense…. :-)

  21. Y’know, I’ve seen the word “comity” used before, but never in this sort of context. You da man, Scalzi!

  22. I took a fun little test yesterday. One of the questions was:

    Say you’re sitting in a bar, having a heated (but friendly) argument with someone pretty smart and knowledgeable about a topic you’re pretty sure you know a lot about. What’s the BEST possible outcome, as far as you’re concerned?

    1) You prove him wrong, he concedes and walks away wiser.

    2) You agree to disagree.

    3) He proves you wrong. You concede and walk away wiser.

    4) You get into a fight and kick his ass.

    I had to think long and hard about the difference between 1 and 3 and which choice was the best outcome. My initial instinct was to go with 1. I think most people choose 1 – we want to be RIGHT, damnit. But if you think about it, the BEST outcome is to have learned something, rather than to be right. You come away a better person when you have learned something new. If you can only lecture or teach (and not learn) then you aren’t growing as a person. The most respected people are always those who say they have so much still to learn, rather than those who claim to know it all!

  23. Someone else at the Scalzi compound needs to get hold of the Nikon when a poster inspires the next rampage. We’ve seen pictures of Devil Scalzi and Warped Scalzi, but I wanna see pictures of the Big Green “You Wouldn’t Like Me When I Get Mad” Scalzi. (grin)

    Because, you see, we do like it when Scalzi gets mad. Come for the literate postings, stay for the show.

    Scalzi may consider Hate Mail to be entertainment, but we’re suckers for the Graded Hate Mail… (double-trouble-grin)

    Dr. Phil

  24. I don’t think you stomped on her head. I don’t think you were even rude. Your responses were polite, well-reasoned, and firm but fair, IMO.

    If someone brandishing The Watchtower comes to my door and asks me kindly to listen to his spiel and I say, “Sorry, no” and shut the door in his face, I’m not stomping on his head. I’m simply minding my own business in my own home. If he then knocks again and tries to tell me that it was a polite request and he is upset that I shut the door in his face, I’ll tell him to go away. If he continues to insist that he knows better than I do how I should respond to his request, I may call him something my mother wouldn’t like to know I knew how to say. I still don’t think I’d be stomping on his head.

    Not that any of those JW’s have ever been that obnoxious. Unlike Gretchen, they do tend to be polite and take no for an answer.

  25. I still say it’s more fun to do as I do: “Aw, that’s cute in its misguidedness. *headpat* So, how about them Hoosiers?” (Or what have you.) That way, they know I don’t like it, and then I just go ahead and erase any further ridiculous comments. :) Or if they start foaming at the mouth in an entertaining kind of way, the people who read my journal know to sit back and giggle. And you’re not remotely bothered in an adrenaline-abuse kind of way.

    I have had the occasional very abusive commenter (before I friends-locked my LiveJournal–but every now and again I discover I’ve friended a numbnuts). Generally I make my friends play nice. They know, once someone crosses the line from debate into blind insulting, that they get to dogpile, get the macros, get the yo’ mama jokes, and be the hilarious posse they are. That ALSO tends to take care of the problem while being entertainment for everyone except the abusive commenter!

    There are more fun ways of dealing, is all. And the love puddles stay in full effect because we’re all hanging out in them, and the bad people are standing outside frothing and stomping their feet while we laugh. :D

  26. Kindly refrain from posting about dolphin-safe giraffe ninjas. My grandmother was killed by dolphin-safe giraffe ninjas!

  27. I work in a church setting, so it is generally frowned upon to call someone a bastard coated bastard with bastard filling. The condescending, power berating fashion, as referred to in comment 16, we usually employ is along the lines of, “Oh that Scalzi, bless his heart, he was so blah, blah , blah.” It drives me crazy when I hear it. We Christians like to eat our own.

  28. Tangent

    John, I’ve just noticed you use emphasis a lot. (Coming from a writing house where emphasis was of the debil and was never to be employed, I rather like it. Sticks out. Emphasis emphasizes.)


  29. On a M & C sidenote, two queries I pose:

    A) have you read them or just seen the film?

    and, if appropriate

    B) Aubrey or Hornblower?

  30. Now me, I’m not a nice person. I like watching the righteous beatings of the clueless. It’s total internet popcorn as far as I’m concerned, complete with generous helpings of Schadenfreude pie topped with the Ice Cream of the Bitter.

    In fact, a couple of my usual mockings-of-the-clueless sites have been quiet of late, so this tiff has been a total godsend. You go, LJ, you go!

  31. I wrote a really long comment and then didn’t submit it. Instead, I have questions:

    Why? To what end? How come? What do you hope to gain?

  32. Would the giraffe ninjas or the okapi pirates fare better in a battle with sivatherium zombies?

  33. I would assume the question(s) in #52 are for #51, and personally, I feel the answer is obvious.

    Why – for entertainment
    To what end – to be entertained
    How come – because it entertains me
    What do you hope to gain – entertainment

    That’s what is so much fun about the clueless. As long as you don’t take them personally, they are entertaining, and they don’t even realize they are entertaining you (for free, even).

  34. RooK @ #10 wins, even beating the ninja giraffes:

    “[M]eanness makes the baby flying spaghetti monster cry.”

    This is my new answer to all unwanted requests, comments and criticism (accompanied by a sad shaking of my head at their cruelty to BFSM.)

  35. I would guesssss. That Another Dave. is trying. To do Captain Kirk inTEXTwhichishardtoDO, without any audio.

  36. /snort @ 42

    Sorry that was the sweet tea blowing out my nose at the “bless his heart”. The southern expression of “what a complete and utter idiot”, said with grace and spite. And strangely the exact thing I kept thinking while reading the Gretchen comments. Bless her heart

  37. What I’d like to know, John, is why you respond to your detractors at all, and more specifically, why you respond to them as you do.

    What do you hope to gain from these exchanges?

  38. @45 “He who’d pose a pun would sooner pick a pocket”

    I’m SURE I read that in some poem by Lewis Carroll. :-D

  39. Another Dave:

    I respond because I feel like it. Most of the time, I benefit from amusing myself.

  40. Is that a parachutting ninja giraffe on your new banner, or is that someone who’s been pushed out of a plane by an assassin ninja giraffe and you captured the fall right before the nylon burst into flames?

    Would you kindly refrain from making me think of death by TAANGs? (The Association of Assassin Ninja Giraffes.) I’ve got enough to worry about without having to look up at the sky.

  41. Mr. Scalzi,

    I may disagree with a lot of your politics, but you sir have writtenone of the finest 1st Amendment essays I have ever ever read.

    I can only hope I piss you off enough in the future to generate yet another burst of mad genius which will inspire us all.

    That said,
    please don’t dispatch the giraffe ninjas to my house. I’d hate to have to set my kung fu komodo dragons on such well trained animals

  42. I love the pie as much as the next guy, and I get that it’s funny, but in the end, I usually just feel too sorry for the sleeper to keep poking fun at him… It’s WAY more fun when the person gets the joke, IMHO. YMMV, etc. : )

  43. I think Scalzi should put up a poll before each post, so we can decide what we want him to say. It’s a public blog, so we should get to say what he thinks and says here.

    I’m just off to slam my balls in the desk drawer a few times. I wrote that as a joke, but I’ve realised how many people actually seem to think like that.

  44. I don’t need to read what was written back and forth to have an opinion on this (ha!).

    Your server your rules. If I don’t like it, I don’t have to come here.

    I run my own server the same way. On my server, the only person who has an unlimited right to be an asshole is me. Anyone else can protest my draconian rule by going elsewhere.

    Freedom of speech is a complete non-issue. No one has the right to force their way into my home (server) and get on their soapbox. Well, they can try, but then my Second Amendment Right might come into play.

    BTW, I am in no way suggesting that you were an asshole.

  45. Heh. Thanks. I sometimes am an asshole, but usually (I think) it’s by choice.

  46. Strange, I just assumed from your posting style that you would be sardonic and rude if I was to demand anything of you. Not to mention, demanding anything when you are visiting someone else’s site.

    Oh well, I’m just here for the sarcasm, lovely pictures, and your wit.

  47. hugh57 @ #6, #7
    “He even asked his wife for permission to tape bacon to his cat.” “Excuse me, their cat.”

    I cannot prove it, but I suspect that “tape bacon to one of the cats that suffers the Scalzi family to cohabitate” is closer to the truth.

  48. Oh well, if you’re going to make me Google it, I’ll just lapse back into suburban apathy… =)

  49. If I could meet up one day with a Confederate childfree creationist, well, I don’t know what I would do with myself.

    Tragically, a Confederate Creationist is just the kind of person who would be aggressively not-childfree. Be fruitful and multiply, saith Jefferson Davis!

  50. Unlike First Amendment protections, misguided self-righteousness knows no boundaries.

    The anonymity of a keyboard and an Internet connection does not grant anyone permission to be rude. Good on you, Mr Scalzi. You have every right to expect folk to behave themselves.

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