Just to be Clear

I would just like to take a moment to clarify a little something. I made a point, when I started this little voluntary endeavor, to keep things positive. I know, I’ve taken a couple of swipes here and there, but, primarily, I don’t dish. I thought this would keep everyone within the lines of, “If you don’t have something nice to say…” Sometimes my naivete outweighs my years.

So, when the nastiness began, I was conflicted. I was a journalism major. My dad covered civil rights marches; he was arrested going under a barricade at a nuclear protest. I cut my teeth on the first amendment. I don’t like censorship.

But, I will not publish comments that are unkind to others. You can say whatever unpleasant thing you have to say about me. Criticize my taste, loathe my style, correct my spelling (please) and I will publish your comment, but if you make a hateful comment about someone else, I will reject it. For the most part, the products and work posted here are of my choosing (which is part of the fun for control-freak me) but it does not seem fair to provide a forum to bash someone or something who showed up here arbitrarily.

I’ve given this some thought. I’ve considered not accepting anonymous comments, but the first comment I made was anonymous (can you guess which one?), and I participated in the community for a while that way. So, bring it on. I can take it, but lay a finger on one of my designers and I’ll take you out. Just to be clear.

Illustration by Janice Nadeau, Town & Country, April 2008, Social Graces column by Willow Bay
Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedinmailFacebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedinmail      rssrss

17 thoughts on “Just to be Clear

  1. I said this on a local food blog, commenting about some of the nasty and usually anonymous comments that I see:

    “I find that on my two blogs (design and food) that the people who make malicious and nasty comments only do so anonymously. I am opening myself up with my opinions, and doing so in my own name. I would expect the same courtesy from people who are commenting, both positively and negatively.

    I am often shocked at the vitriol in some comments. It literally leaves me reeling!”

  2. word.

    at least, if you’re going to say something unpleasant, own it. back it up and move along (as in please leave now)

  3. mrs. b-
    no, we certainly do not need any more metal detectors here or shoe removal people.

    one writer (grandmother) said, the grandchildren love to come to her home, they can play with all the guns and ask silly questions about ashtrays. she will reply, oh, that was when life was fun! she even thought about leaving “butts” in them but then thought better of it.

    you truly make life worth living.

    ding, round II

  4. If your opinion is about something aesthetic, and it’s interesting or complex or unconventional or well-argued or has *some* quality that makes it worth reading and thinking about, then I don’t care what your fake-blog name is, whether it’s “anonymous” or “Mrs. Blandings.” I’ve seen smart commentary by unnamed and fake-named people, and mediocre, insipid “That’s so pretty!” comments by bloggers who give their full names.

    None of this has anything to do with the First Amendment, freedom of speech, censorship, etc. If you’re a blogger, you’re a publisher. If you’re a publisher, you have the right to accept or reject submissions. If you run a blog and get a comment you don’t like, just delete it. You don’t have to give a reason, or have a policy, or follow a policy consistently if you do have one. (Now THAT’s part of freedom of speech–arbitrariness.) But if you do decide to accept all posts, whether you like them or not, please don’t elevate yourself to the level of, say, an newspaper editor torn from his family and banished to the gulag during the Stalin era.
    The whole “only say nice things” is the curse not just of decorating blogs but of decorating journalism in general.

  5. Anon – Point taken. I would certainly aspire to having an opinion worth reading.

    The blogging community, I think, is slightly different than other publications. As we are able to communicate in real time, and to the authors themselves, it has a personal component that printed works do not. This leads one to believe, rightly so or not, that we are involved in a bit of relationship. Some days I’m good, and others, obviously, not, but you have some perspective because you can see my work, with my name attached. The problem with the anonymity is that it gives me no perspective on the commenter. It’s hard for me to evaluate if this is someone’s opinion that carries any weight, because it seems like a singular, and ugly, shot in the dark. And, to be fair, you must admit it is not only the Suzy Sunshines who leave insipid comments; the negative comments are often equally banal.

    There are a few blogs that I read that carry criticism and I enjoy them because they are educated and even handed. I might agree and I might not, but I can see that they are not simply smug.

    We’re talking fabric here. I’m certainly not equating myself with anyone putting their life on the line, but I have a connection to my readers, and I want them to understand how things are going to work when they are here. This is mine. It might be silly and insignificant to you, but it means something to me. The fact that anyone takes time out of their day to stop and read it amazes me (and likely, you.) I will continue to handle content and comments in any way I like. I will gleeful reject comments that I think have little merit; what I was hoping to do was discourage authors from leaving them in the first place. They waste my time.

  6. Hang on a minute, guys!
    Isn’t a bit of healthy criticism valid when politely
    I’m trying to see both sides of this discussion objectively.
    Mrs Blandings’ point of view, that nasty comments tend to sully her blog, is something I agree with~it leaves a bitter taste, and is usually an over-reaction anyhow to matters that, she is the first to admit, scarcely warrant such vitriol.
    On the other hand, the relentless cheerleading of the decorating magazines can begin to wear thin. There were a few that managed this balancing act (of praise, along with detachment or bemusement), the early years of World of Interiors being the prime example of decorating journalism that was astute in the best sense of the word.
    The internet is rife with sour-grapes comments, and if Mrs Blandings would prefer to filter them out of the general discussion, she has every right.

  7. Toby – that is my point, though I don’t think I made it very clearly. Criticism is fine, healthy, good for all of us. There are a few rooms that make me want scream every time I see them load. On my post today a couple of readers commented that they liked the rugs, but that had become too ubiquitous to enjoy. Fine, agreed. I did a tongue in cheek post about rock crystal not too long ago. I do not share the giddiness over domino, but I think that is a reflection of my age more than the magazine. What I don’t do is post, “domino sucks” on someone’s blog. That’s not criticism, that is an attack. Even anon’s comment here today is well thought out and written (which goes a long way with me.) I welcome that, revel in it, respond to it. But if he’d written, “You’re an idiot.”, which might be what he wanted to say, no, that’s just silly.

  8. Dear Mrs B, you made your point with perfect clarity, and when that point was challenged, your response was refreshingly lacking in defensive language.
    It was a question of keeping it dignified, a forum for grown-ups.
    As a digression:
    Your allusion to rugs that have become “too ubiquitous to enjoy” strikes a raw nerve. The whole syndrome of New, Fresh, and Suddenly Tired just makes me weary of the design world on occasion. I used to get fairly vexed at the Testy Tastemaker’s diatribes against trends that had peaked. If they had indeed become over-exposed, surely House and Garden was partly responsible? As if the process of interior decoration wasn’t plagued with doubt already! When our enthusiasms become suspect, there is something wrong with the whole system.

  9. Toby – I completely agree with your attitude toward “what’s hot.” For those of us who are buying what we truly love, it won’t matter.

  10. Dear Mrs. B –
    I completely agree with your comments about this issue. Strong opinions and dissent often make interesting reading–witless sniping and flaming almost never do. Although I agree that the relentless cheerleading of the design press gets weary-making, I never bother with forums that allow combatants to simply lob verbal rotten eggs at one another. Someone has to referee and edit, otherwise it’s just too boring.

    Thanks again for your lovely blog; it’s beautiful to look at and well written to boot.

    Cheers – KMc

  11. I visit Cote de Texas very often, and today I saw your blog and I guess we all should post what you say, not only because it is time to stop people from bad behavior but we need peace. Life should be about love, beauty and peace of mind, about enjoying and respecting. I am so glad I found your beautiful blog.

  12. hmmm… I guess I'm like hideously late to the party. haha! oh well… I happen to LOVE your blog name and think it's brilliant and wish I had thought of it first! (doesn't everyone?)

    I think your point is very well-made. And that is the difference between attacking someone and healthy criticism which is backed up by logical reasoning. For instance, there is a famous designer that just had a book come out and one of my fave bloggers posted about it and some photos. While I think that most of the images are beyond exquisite, there are a few like one where the sofa's back is to the fireplace and someone dumped a weird round little poof in front of the FP and then there are some random tables/lamps, etc. The colors are gorge as is the architecture of the room, but the floor plan makes no sense. Still… after I wrote it, I thought, who the hell am I to criticize the work of this designer who's work, I love? Truth be told, he may not have even been at the photo shoot on the day that photo was taken and the stylist might've been the culprit or book editor. Who knows? Well…'nuff said! my best, Laurel ps: commented because I noticed that you were at the blogging conference last year. If you're coming this year, I hope that I get to meet you!
    pps: can only comment under my google++++++++ account because there's no option here for name/url and I've tried six ways from Sunday, and nope, so-called open ID. does. not. work. for us "wordies." (vendetta from the almighty google++++++++++++) sorry, if that +++++ sarcasm sounds like an attack. however… well… I think it's more like retaliation in this case!!! :]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *